A defect, break or slippery surface can cause a hard fall, resulting in serious injuries including broken bones and torn ligaments. Most people believe that if a person is injured because of a fall, the property owner is automatically liable. Under Illinois law, this is not the case.
Several questions determine whether your slip and fall case will be successful. Collecting and preserving information immediately is key.
- What was it that caused your fall and did the landowner create it?
- How long was the condition present before your fall and did the landowner know of it?
- Was the condition created naturally?
ANATOMY OF A SLIP AND FALL CASE
At Stone & Maya, P.C., we bring years of experience in handling slip and fall cases. Although the individual facts and circumstances of every case is unique, most cases share a general anatomy and timeline.
- The accident occurs.
- It is vital that you collect and preserve as much information as possible immediately. What you collect may be important evidence later in your case. As soon as you can, photograph the scene, and what caused your fall. For reference, also photograph the surrounding area.
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Any delay by you in obtaining medical treatment will be used by the insurance company against your claim. Follow the recommendations and instructions of your medical providers.
- Once hired, your attorney will notify the defendant landowner and insurance company of the claim and conduct his investigation. It is important that you provide your lawyer with all of the papers, photographs and any other information that you collected.
- After you have completed your medical treatment, your lawyer will initiate settlement negotiations with the defense.
- If negotiations are successful, you case can be settled prior to litigation. If not, our attorneys will prepare and file your Complaint at Law against the defendant and place your case into litigation.
- Once served with the Complaint, the defendant has a limited time to file his Answer. The case then enters the Discovery phase of litigation.
- Discovery consists of two parts, first being written questions and documents. These documents include of the evidence that you collected right after your accident occurred.
- The second half of discovery involves your deposition. A deposition is the defendant’s opportunity to ask you questions about the case and determine your credibility. It can also be used at trial, if the case proceeds to that point.
- Following the conclusion of depositions, it is not uncommon for the defense to file a Motion to Dismiss, or similar motion. The grounds for this type of motion can differ, but the goal of the defendant in bringing is always the same: to dismiss your case before trial. Our firm has successfully defended against and defeated numerous Motions to Dismiss over the years.
- After the defendant’s motion is defeated, many cases become eligible for settlement negotiations. If your case can be settled at this point, no trial is necessary.
- If settlement negotiations are not successful, our attorneys continue to prepare your case for trial. This includes obtaining the trial testimony of experts, witnesses and your doctors.
- Your case proceeds to trial.
- Following trial, there may be post-trial motions and appeals.
Contact the attorneys of Stone & Maya, P.C., for a free consultation to discuss your slip and fall case today.