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rolling-meadows-slip-and-fall-attorney.jpgSlip-and-fall accidents are to be expected during wintertime. Snow and ice can be easily tracked into a store, and parking lots can be difficult to keep clear. Liability for a fall injury caused by winter weather can be tricky to determine because property owners are not always responsible for weather-related hazards. In the summer, unless it is raining, it is much less likely that weather can be blamed for a slip. Retail managers and those who run other businesses open to the public have a duty to keep their establishments reasonably safe. If someone has slipped and fallen on their premises, there is a substantial likelihood that the business can be held responsible under a premises liability theory. If you were injured when you slipped and fell in a business, you may be entitled to recover compensation and should contact a qualified attorney for a case evaluation. 

What Causes Slip-and-Fall Accidents in Good Weather?

While some spills can happen and cause a slip far too quickly for a business manager to react to, other hazards go ignored. Common causes of slips and falls in favorable weather include: 

  • Ignored spills - With the current labor crisis, many businesses - particularly restaurants and retail - are severely understaffed. This can make it difficult for staff to respond to spills or other reported hazards in a timely fashion. However, safety issues should always be prioritized and addressed without delay even if staff is busy doing something else. 

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mount-prospect-il-car-crash-lawyer.jpgIntoxicated drivers are famous for causing truly terrible car accidents like head-on collisions and even rollover accidents. When a drunk driver caused your accident, it is very likely that either you or a bystander called the police and they responded to the scene. Most of the time, an intoxicated driver who has caused a crash will be arrested promptly and charged with a DUI. If that is the case, proving your case against them in civil court is likely to be fairly easy. However, if the driver was not criminally charged, this does not mean that you will not be able to prove in civil court that they were intoxicated for the purposes of winning your case against them. If you were hit by a drunk or high driver who escaped criminal liability, it is important that you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to file a claim against them. 

Why Would an Intoxicated Driver Who Caused an Accident Not be Charged?

The reasons that a driver who causes a car crash due to intoxication may not be arrested vary. It could be that the police did not notice intoxication caused by drugs other than alcohol, as the signs of impairment can be more subtle. Or, the police may not believe that they have enough evidence to be able to prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. For example, if it took the police some time to respond, the responsible driver may have had time between the accident and the officer’s arrival to consume more drugs or alcohol. In other cases, corruption is to blame - the drunk driver may be related to or friends with someone on the force. 

How Can I Prove Intoxication in My Case When There Was No Arrest?

The level of proof needed to hold someone criminally responsible is much higher than the level of proof needed to show civil liability. Even if there is not enough evidence to charge the driver in criminal court and prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were intoxicated, a jury in civil court may still find that it is more likely than not that they were intoxicated. Witness testimony is often important.

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After some car accidentschicago-car-accident-lawyer.jpg, it is very clear whose fault it was. For example, if one driver was going the wrong way down a one-way street, the blame is very clearly on the wrong-way driver. In other accidents, the fault may be shared between two or more drivers. This is often the case with pile-ups, which are rarely caused by one single individual. However, there is usually one driver who is more responsible than others involved. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, you may be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault. If you believe that your own actions may have contributed to the accident in any way, it is critically important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the accident, and definitely before you speak to an insurance agency. Car insurance companies are notorious for misusing admissions of partial fault in order to deny a valid claim. 

What Does Illinois’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule Mean?

Illinois uses a system called “modified comparative negligence” to determine how much an injured driver can recover after an accident they had some fault in causing. Generally, if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident, you will still be able to recover compensation. However, the amount of your award will be reduced by the portion of fault you are assigned. 

For example, if the court finds that you were 20% responsible for your accident, and another driver was 80% responsible, you can recover 80% of what you would have been awarded if you had zero fault in the accident. 

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Il injury lawyerIn Illinois, you are required by law to file a police report after most traffic accidents. Aside from being the law, it is generally a very good idea to file a report anyway. Ideally, the police should respond to the scene and conduct their own independent investigation. The results of a police investigation can make or break a car accident claim.

Courts and insurance companies alike tend to take the word of police officers at face value. A report showing that you were not at fault and the other driver was can streamline the process of recovering compensation. If you are able to wait at the scene to give a statement, you should. If your injuries dictate that you must be transported to the hospital right away, do not worry. The police will be able to take your statement later. Your next phone call should be to an attorney.

3 Reasons the Police Report is Critically Important to Your Claim

While some people are understandably hesitant to interact with the police, doing so is a necessity after a motor vehicle crash. A few reasons you really do need to contact the police after a car accident include:

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IL injury lawyerThere are more moving parts to a slip and fall claim than you might think. It seems like it should be simple - you were walking through a store or restaurant, there was liquid on the floor, and you slipped on it and got hurt, so the person or entity charged with maintaining the premises pays. In real life, it is not always quite that simple. Slip and fall cases can be a bit more complex than they initially appear. The simple fact that you did slip in something and fall down is not generally enough to show that the premises owner or manager was somehow negligent in causing your injuries. Your attorney will want to conduct a more thorough investigation, which is why calling one as soon as possible after the accident is so important. The faster you get an attorney on your case, the more evidence is likely to be available.

What Legal Rules Apply to Slip and Fall Accidents?

Aside from showing that you slipped and fell and got hurt, you will also need to prove that there was some amount of carelessness or wrongdoing on the part of the person tasked with keeping the premises safe. This can be easier said than done. Some legal rules that could affect your claim include:

  • Proving knowledge - Odds are, you have at some point found a bit of water on your own floor at home without being entirely sure how it got there. In a public setting, spills happen all the time and are not always the premises owner’s fault. You will need to demonstrate that someone who had a duty to keep the establishment safe either actually knew about the spill or should have known about the spill before you got hurt.
  • Cause of spill - No one can stop it from raining or snowing outside, and there is a limit to what retail establishments and restaurants can do about patrons tracking it in on their shoes. You may have a much more difficult time if your slip was weather-related.
  • Contributory negligence - In many cases, a slip and fall is not 100% the fault of the establishment, nor is it 100% the fault of the individual who fell. In Illinois, the fault can be split. If you contributed to your accident in some way, the amount of your award could be reduced.

An attorney can help you better understand how these rules could apply to your individual situation.

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