Many people are confused about what exactly is required to bring a successful slip and fall claim in Illinois. While there are many exceptions to the rules outlined below, the following discussion outlines the basic requirements for bringing a successful claim. There are two major requirements to a successful slip and fall claim:
1. There was a hazardous condition on the property that caused you to fall;
2. That the owner of the property knew or should have known of the hazardous condition; and
First, there must be a hazardous condition on the property that causes your fall. A hazardous condition is one that normally wouldn’t be present if the property was adequately maintained. For example, water leaking from a cooler or spilled laundry detergent in a grocery store would constitute hazardous conditions. Similarly, a substantially uneven or crumbling sidewalk in front of a fast food restaurant might be considered a hazardous condition. On the other hand, if you fall because of a normal curb, stair, or if you simply trip over your feet, then you generally do not have a compensable claim. A defendant is not liable for one’s injuries just because she fell on his property.
Second, the owner or manager of the property must have known or should have known about the hazardous condition. In determining whether this requirement can be met, attorneys look to how the hazardous condition got there and how long it was there. For example, if a clerk stocking shelves drops a bottle of wine that spills on the floor, and a customer later falls because of that spill, this requirement has been met as the Defendant’s employee knew about the spill. It is often very difficult to prove that the property owner or its employee’s knew of the hazardous condition. Therefore, most cases require a showing that Defendant should have known of the dangerous condition.
Time is one of the major factors in proving that a property owner should have known of the hazardous condition. For example, if a customer of a grocery store spills flour and a customer falls on it moments later, there is no case because the property owner had no knowledge of the spill and did not have reasonable time to become aware of the hazardous condition. However, if a customer spills flower on the floor and a customer falls on it 20 minutes later, the property owner and his employees had substantial amounts of time to recognize that there was a hazardous condition and place warning signs or clean the area.
While there are many exception and caveats to the rules discussed above, these are the two major requirements that determine whether you have a compensable slip and fall claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a fall, contact The Kryder Law Group for your free consultation.