Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury across the nation, and Chicago is no exception with the added hazards of tricky weather. This type of accident is usually caused by improperly maintained areas where people often walk. Common hazards include wet floors in grocery stores, icy or broken sidewalks, insufficient lighting, or broken steps on stairways.
Slipping and falling can cause serious injuries which result in lengthy and expensive hospital stays. A slip-and-fall accident can be especially dangerous for elderly people, and it some cases, an accident may even result in death.
Illinois building and safety codes require property owners to maintain the safety of public areas, property owners often fail to keep up with these legal codes and standards. Poor maintenance is a real problem in the Chicago area as more and more public areas deteriorate into unsafe conditions.
Slip-and-fall stories often include people slipping on wet floors in grocery stores. When an area is wet because of recent cleaning, the store will generally put up cautionary signs in the area. However, spills may occur, and store personnel might not always deal with those spills promptly. It’s easy to get distracted while shopping at the grocery store. Shoppers should watch where they’re going and notify clerks if they see any wet areas. The store is responsible for taking care of wet areas, but a shopper could certainly help out by giving employees a heads up and/or warning other shoppers in the area.
Ice and Snow
Ice and snow are probably the most common safety hazards in Chicago. Even in mild weather, the ground may be icy during the winter months and even into May. Ice is a big problem for pedestrians and disabled people. Everyone should be on the lookout for black ice, which often looks deceptively like an ordinary water puddle. Snow can also cover steps or drop-offs that can lead to serious falling hazards. Owners of public property are legally required to clear away snow and de-ice the area around their buildings. If a pedestrian sees evidence of insufficient ice and snow clearance, he or she should into the building and report the unsafe conditions. Take care when walking in cold weather.
In the past, the city of Chicago was able to share the costs of sidewalk repair with homeowners. However, the city of Chicago is responsible for the condition of public sidewalks today. A pedestrian or someone passing by can call 311 to report a broken sidewalk. The person reporting the broken sidewalk should describe the problem in detail and let the city know if a significant tripping hazard or damaged area makes the sidewalk impossible for disabled people to use.
Filing a Claim For Injury
Illinois has a modified comparative negligence law. This law means that the person filing a claim for injury due to a slip and fall accident must prove that the property owner is more than 50 percent at fault for the person’s injuries. An injured person may need to contact a personal injury attorney for help. An attorney can deal with the property owner’s insurance company and help with filing a civil lawsuit if necessary.