After a slip and fall accident, Chicago victims may be able to recover compensation, also known as damages, from the at-fault parties. These damages can cover the full extent of the plaintiff’s losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional harms. However, the first step in any slip and fall case is establishing that another party bears responsibility for causing the accident.
Establishing Liability for a Trip and Fall Accident
The defendants in a Chicago slip and fall case are the parties that caused the victim to suffer harm. Usually, the defendants would be the individuals or entities that own the property. If the property owner contracts other businesses to oversee the property, there might also be other defendants. For example, a third-party contractor may be hired to clear ice from a parking lot. This contractor would then be responsible for ensuring that the parking lot is safe.
In addition to establishing the proper defendant, a victim and their attorney must show a jury or insurance company evidence of the dangerous condition that caused the accident. Witness testimony can help, as nearby individuals may be able to describe the hazard that the victim slipped and fell on. Additionally, photographic or video surveillance evidence from the scene may show the dangerous condition at the time of the accident. Evidence can become difficult to locate over time, however, and property owners may overwrite video footage if too much time passes. This makes it critical for victims to contact a Chicago attorney as quickly as possible after a slip and fall.
Assessing the Victim’s Damages
After liability is determined, the slip and fall lawyer assesses damages by gathering all relevant documentation. In many cases, the first step is to review the person’s past medical bills and future treatment recommendations. The lawyer also gathers information about the plaintiff’s lost wages if they had to miss work due to the injuries. Because these losses have a set monetary value, they fall into the category of economic damages.
Chicago victims are also eligible to recover noneconomic damages in a slip and fall action. The lawyer evaluates the individual’s pain and suffering and takes note of how the incident has affected their life. When there is a likelihood of future pain and suffering, depending on the prognosis from the accident, that is considered during settlement negotiations or trial.
Punitive damages are rare in Chicago slip and fall cases, but a court may award them if the defendant’s conduct was intentional or grossly negligent. For example, punitive damages may be available if multiple people fell on a property and the owner did nothing to correct the dangerous condition. The purpose is to punish the person or entity responsible for the accident and deter future bad behavior. For example, if multiple people fell on a property and the owners did nothing about the dangerous condition,
First Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall
After a slip and fall accident, it is always helpful to take pictures of the hazard the individual slipped and fell on. If the victim is unable to do so, a friend or family member may document the scene for them. Spills or ice may not remain in the area for long after an accident, so it is helpful to document the scene quickly.
Additionally, perhaps the most important step after a slip and fall is to seek medical attention. Even if someone thinks their injuries are minor, the full extent of the harm may not be immediately apparent. The injured person should see a medical professional and follow the doctor’s orders.
Finally, Chicago slip and fall victims should consider retaining legal counsel for help recovering damages. All personal injury cases can be complex, and insurance companies often work hard to minimize settlement values. An attorney could be your advocate and fight tirelessly for your interests. Call today.