This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Chicago Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers
Slip and fall accidents can occur suddenly, given the right conditions. These dangerous accidents occur more frequently than is commonly thought, and often lead to great physical harm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year millions of people over 65 fall due to a combination of physical risk factors. Due to advanced age, any fall can result in significant physical damage. This doesn’t even begin to factor in senior citizen slip and fall accidents that involve an act of negligence, for which another party could be held liable.
Unsafe Walking Conditions and Slip and Fall Accidents
Unsafe conditions create slip and fall risks for all ages, including children, joggers, pedestrians, employees, and shoppers, as well as seniors. Attorneys affiliated with Mitch Sexner, founding attorney of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC in Chicago, are recognized for their accomplishments in winning high value settlements and verdicts that required a deep knowledge of the law, and a tenacious ability to negotiate in the best interests of their clients. Our Chicago premises liability lawyer is available now to discuss your slip and fall case.
Even a minor slip and fall can leave a person with devastating, long term physical damage. Human bodies are complex machines with integrated physical systems. A fall that traumatizes one body part can have a severe impact on another part of the body later on. For example, broken bones can cause extensive nerve and muscle damage that lead to chronic neck and back pain – afflictions that linger well after bones heal. A broken hip can affect the knees, spine and back and even cause digestion issues. Many of these secondary effects lead to the need for further medical treatment.
Premises Liability: Determining Who Is at Fault for a Slip and Fall Accident
When an individual suffers a slip and fall accident in a public place, or on another person’s property, or in the workplace, the question of liability becomes a prime concern. The controlling factor in a premises liability case is negligence and reasonable care. These concepts can get sticky, which is why it is critical that you obtain professional legal counsel as soon as possible. The legal team at our firm offers the injured client deep litigation and negotiation experience, with a perspective that includes all parties, relevant laws and a great breadth of knowledge of the elements that establish liability.
One of the most common places where slip and fall accidents can occur is in the workplace. According to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), risk factors in the workplace include:
- Spills on walking surfaces
- Ice, snow, or rain
- Loose mats or rugs
- Obstructed vision
- Poor lighting
- Walking surfaces in poor condition
- Fast work pace making an employee work faster than he/she can safely accomplish
- Liquid or greasy materials that create slippery surfaces
- Age, fatigue, poor eyesight
- Inappropriate footwear
Property owners also have a responsibility to their tenants, visitors and guests to keep them safe. Other common conditions that can lead to a slip and fall accident include:
- Uneven surfaces
- Broken handrail
- Loose steps
- Loose carpeting
- Lack of adequate warning signs
- Failure to block off hazardous areas
- Failure to monitor hazardous operations
Serious Consequences of Slip and Fall Accidents
The legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC knows that proving negligence is not always a simple task. We understand the factors involved in recovering maximum compensation, not only for the suffering you experienced at the time of the accident, but also for the impact on the quality of your life and your ability to work and earn a living. The consequences can be serious and long-lasting.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A blow to the brain can affect motor coordination, ability to concentrate or think, perceptual abilities, and can contribute to loss of control over bodily functions that include respiration, heart regulation and sensory input. In severe cases, the accident victim has no ability to seek justice on their own and must rely on friends, family and appointed legal counsel.
TBI is classified by severity, but is a leading cause of death and disability. Worsening health can occur months or even years after the accident. A traumatic brain injury from a slip and fall accident may be followed by secondary injury, which can affect the flow of blood and fluids in the head and compound the damage from the fall. The outcome can range from a complete recovery to permanent impairments, severe disabilities, or in the most tragic cases, death.
As a TBI opens the door to many physical, cognitive and behavioral effects, it is crucial to get a complete physical examination by a physician specializing in brain trauma and head injuries. The true consequences of your injury may be hidden behind other symptoms and pains, and may only become apparent over time. It is important to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible after a slip and fall with traumatic brain injury in order to ensure that your right to seek compensation is protected. The statute of limitations restricts the time period under which a claim or lawsuit can be filed. Depending on the degree of injury, the victim may need a close family member to arrange a Power of Attorney to file the claim or lawsuit.
Beyond restricting mobility during the period of healing, broken bones can create permanent nerve and muscle damage and/or a permanent misalignment of the skeletal system – all of which can generate further pain and incapacitation.
Because slip and fall accidents can come about from a wide variety of conditions, the primary impact to the body from the fall can occur to any part of the body. The following are the most common:
- Neck and spine: These breaks can have a devastating effect on one’s ability to function normally. It often requires long periods of convalescence, or can lead to permanent impairments.
- Wrist and ankle: Noted for taking a long time to heal due to the number of bones and connective tissue involved, these fractures often restrict mobility and ability to work at a computer and other common work or personal tasks.
- Face and skull: These injuries can lead to disfigurement and brain or optic nerve damage or cause the need for extensive restorative dental work.
- Hip and pelvis: Healing the hip or pelvis is slow, and often involves difficult and painful physical therapy.
- Broken rib: Often causing pain when breathing, coughing or even speaking while the area is mending, broken ribs can also cause further complications due to damage to lungs and other internal body systems.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can create a range of effects from total paralysis to varying degrees of loss of muscle function, sensation or physical control below the area of the spine that was injured. In many cases, spinal cord injuries affect the victim’s life from that point onward, leaving the person with permanent impairments.
As the spinal cord is bound within the boney vertebrae of your back, a slip and fall accident that dislocates any of these vertebrae, traumatizing specific areas of the spinal cord, can have a profound impact on motor functions or nerve activity controlled by that section of the spine. If the spinal cord is severed, there will be no ability of the nervous system to send messages to body systems below the point of disconnection. In most cases, spinal cord injury is caused by pieces of vertebrae abrading the spinal tissue and disrupting the spinal cord’s ability to function. It also can cause severe pain when the victim attempts to move. Surgery, braces, assistive devices and mobility aids are often required.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries caused by Slip and Falls
There are two classifications of spinal cord injuries: incomplete and complete. An incomplete injury retains some functional ability below the point of injury and a complete injury signifies a complete lack of sensory and motor function below the point of injury.
Any significant spinal cord injury, once survived, can entail many future medical complications involving:
- Loss or partial loss of bladder and bowel functions
- Heart and lung difficulties
- Loss of movement and flexibility
- Sexual functionality
- Chronic pain
- Loss of sensation including touch, taste, heat and cold, hearing and eyesight.
Icy Sidewalk Slip & Fall
Seasonally, particularly around the holidays, when the streets and sidewalks are busy with shoppers, unmanaged icy sidewalks on private property and in business districts lead to numerous accidents. Establishing what parties can be held liable will require an investigation into the facts. At our firm, we know what to look for to identify the parties that can be named in a lawsuit or insurance claim.
As icy sidewalk slip and fall accident lawsuits depend heavily on establishing that the property owner or employee “should have known” (because a reasonable person in his or her place would have known), proving negligence requires substantiating reports and records, and an understanding of the ordinances and laws of Chicago or other city that relate to premises risk abatement. Your slip and fall lawyer must be skilled in negotiating the terms of a settlement, as well as presenting persuasive arguments in court, should the case progress to trial.
Fatal Slip & Fall Accidents
Fatal slip and fall accidents often leave no one to tell the victim’s side of the story. Compensation awards to the next of kin heavily depend upon careful and legally-oriented investigation and forensics to show clear liability in a wrongful death claim.
As a fatal slip and fall accident can pose challenges in establishing negligence, it is very important to enlist an experienced trial lawyer to manage your case. The opposing attorney may attempt to place blame elsewhere, and argue against liability. Your attorney must be capable of excellent case preparation, and have the trial skills to present persuasive, fully supported arguments at trial. Our firm can navigate the issues and help you pursue the maximum compensation for the death of your loved one.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney in Chicago
At our firm, our Chicago personal injury attorneys treat our clients with personal care and compassion. We understand there is more at stake than just winning your case; we are committed to fighting for the quality of your life, and we do so with a professional earnestness that has resulted in winning some of the largest settlements ever awarded in the Chicago area.
- Did a Business Fail to Keep You Safe As a Customer?
- Easy Ways to Avoid Slip and Fall Fatalities
- Brain Injuries Commonly Suffered in Chicago Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
- Bones Commonly Broken in Chicago Sidewalk Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
- Who May Be Held Liable for a Chicago Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident?