Unfortunately, slips, trips, and falls are not always easy to walk away from. Even a minor accident on a hard surface or at an awkward angle can lead to lacerations, ligament damage, bone fractures, and potentially even permanent brain or spinal damage.
Anyone who has to seek professional medical care after slipping or tripping may benefit from working with a judicious personal injury attorney. If your accident occurred because a property owner failed to properly maintain their land, an Elgin slip and fall lawyer could potentially hold them accountable to pay for your medical bills, missed work income, pain and suffering, and more.
What are the Legal Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim?
Many different hazards could cause someone to slip or trip and injure themselves, ranging from temporary dangers like ice on a sidewalk to long-standing issues like loose carpeting and broken stair railings. Regardless of the cause, an injured individual must prove that someone else was legally negligent in order to file suit for this kind of accident.
In the context of slip and fall claims, legal negligence entails a failure by the property owner or manager to inspect their land regularly and make sure legal visitors are protected from dangerous conditions. However, property owners generally do not have any special obligation to protect trespassers from harm, so long as they do not intentionally put trespassers at risk of injury (by setting traps or deliberately creating hazardous conditions, for instance).
If a plaintiff can prove that a property owner knew or should have known about a hazard and did not use reasonable care to fix it or cordon it off, they should be able to hold that property owner financially liable for any damages that occurred as a direct result of an accident involving that hazard. The Elgin slip and fall attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. could help determine during an initial consultation whether litigation might be possible in a particular situation.
Property owners are not the only ones who could bear liability for a slip and fall accident. If a civil court determines that a plaintiff filing suit over slip and fall injuries bears partial responsibility for causing or exacerbating their own injuries, the court may reduce the amount of compensation available to them. If the plaintiff bears more than 50 percent of total fault, the court could bar them from recovering anything.
The Statute of Limitations in Elgin
Furthermore, the civil statute of limitations codified in 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/13-202 allows most slip and fall victims only two years after their accident in which to file suit. Since failing to adhere to this filing deadline can also completely block civil recovery, it is generally a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a trip and fall accident in Elgin.
Learn More from an Elgin Slip and Fall Attorney Today
In the best-case scenario, a slip and fall is nothing more than temporary embarrassment. However, this kind of accident can sometimes result in much more than a bruised ego, and serious injuries can come with substantial medical costs in addition to other damages. If you were hurt because someone else did not live to the standard of care they owed you, you may have grounds for recovery.
An Elgin slip and fall lawyer could walk you through your legal options and help you pursue your civil claim as effectively and efficiently as possible. To discuss your potential case, call today.