Surprisingly, over one million people in the United States experience a significant slip, trip, or fall each year. Statistics indicate that trip and fall injuries cost the United States $36 billion each year. On average, a slip and fall accident costs approximately $28,000, which includes medical costs, physical therapy, and missed wages.
Slip and Fall Accident Death
Statistics indicate that nearly 17,000 Americans die from slip and fall accidents annually. Deaths associated with slip and fall accidents are costly, both financially and emotionally. Statistics estimate that a single slip and fall death costs about $940,000, excluding the victim's family's trauma. Furthermore, slip and fall fatalities are responsible for more deaths that any other on-the-job related fatalities combined. Surprisingly, slip and fall accidents are the number two cause of death and disability, behind automobile accidents.
Determining Slip and Fall Liability
Liability in slip and fall cases is often decided by common sense. Juries and judges determine whether the owner or occupier of property was careful to keep the property safe. The most common scope applied when determining liability in slip and fall cases is whether the owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a "reasonable" person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it. Furthermore, the owner of the premises or an employee must have caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface one fell on. Also, the owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the dangerous surface but done nothing about it before one fell on it.
Illinois Premises Liability Act
According to the Illinois Premises Liability Act, the owner of a premise owes a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them. 740 ILCS 130/1.
Under the Illinois Premises Liability Act, an owner does not have a duty to warn of or otherwise take reasonable steps to protect entrants from conditions on the premises that are known to the entrant, are open and obvious, or can reasonably be expected to be discovered by the entrant. Furthermore, an owner does not owe a duty to warn of latent defects or dangers that are unknown to the owner or occupier of the premises. Also, an owner does not owe a duty to warn such entrants of any dangers resulting from misuse by the entrants of the premises or anything affixed to or located on the premises. 740 ILCS 130/1.
Slip and falls are the single most common reason for visits to the emergency room throughout the United States. Statistics estimate that 55% of people ages 40 and older have suffered a debilitating slip and fall accident during their lifetime. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a premises liability accident, we strongly recommend that you contact an experienced premises liability attorney and seek immediate medical attention.