Illinois law requires that people and businesses take care to protect their visitors. According to 740 ILCS 130/2, premises owners and occupiers must exercise “reasonable” care, which is determined by the circumstances. In certain situations, owners and occupiers must fix hazards known to them or warn visitors of any known hazards.
Unfortunately, many owners and occupiers fail to adequately protect visitors, who then slip or trip and fall, injuring themselves in the process. If you fall in a business or at a private residence, you should take the following steps to protect your right to compensation.
Document the Hazard
People fall for all kinds of reasons, such as:
- Loose tiles, floorboards, or steps
- Inadequate lighting that makes it hard to see where you are walking
- Spilled liquids on the floor
- Slick surfaces that have recently been washed or waxed
- Holes in the floor or ground
- Worn carpeting
- Objects left on the floor that you trip over
Whatever hazard has caused you to fall, you should document it as soon as possible. For example, spilled liquids will either evaporate or be wiped up, so you cannot come back a day or two later and expect to find the hazard.
Instead, take a picture with your smartphone. If you do not have a phone or are too injured to move, ask someone else to take pictures of the hazard. As soon as possible, you should also write down what happened in the seconds leading up to the slip or trip.
Get Witness Identification
People who do not know you make great witnesses because they are viewed as objective. Write down the names and contact information of all people who saw you fall or ask someone else to take down this information. Your slip and fall attorney will find this information helpful and might reach out to contact the witnesses, if necessary.
Document Your Injuries
Months (or more) will pass from the date you fell to the day you go to trial or negotiate a settlement. By then, your wounds will have healed and bruises will have faded. To remind everyone of how seriously you were injured, remember to do the following:
- Take pictures of any cuts, bruises, and broken bones.
- Go to the doctor immediately to document the severity of your injuries.
- Keep a diary in which you note the location of pain each day, as well as how the injuries affect your mood.
Avoid Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
Remember to tell the store owner about the fall, if they are not already aware. However, you should avoid giving extensive statements about what happened or your injuries to either the store or their insurer. Instead, wait until you have met with a slip and fall attorney before offering up your version of events. Any statement you make can be used against you, and you do not want to inadvertently say something untrue that hamstrings your case later.
Injured in a Slip and Fall? Contact a Rockford Personal Injury Lawyer
The lawyers at Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow have obtained millions of dollars in total compensation for our clients. Please contact us to schedule your free consultation today.