The final decision in a slip-and-fall accident claim is in the hands of the insurance company, and later the jury if you proceed with a full personal injury lawsuit. One of the most common hazards for a slip-and-fall injury in Illinois is the presence of snow or ice on walkways. The factors of these sorts of slip-and-fall accidents are often left to the interpretation of victims, witnesses, property owners and ultimately the insurance company or jury.Most snow and ice slip-and-fall accidents involve determining if there was a natural accumulation of winter weather on the ground or if it was in excess of normal levels. The victim must be able to prove one of several reasons why the hazard was unnatural, such as:
- Placement – The snow was manually moved into a hazardous area such as near a doorway;
- Removal – The walkway was not properly salted and cleared of ice if the property lease states removal services are provided by management; and/or
- Property hazard – A property feature that knowingly creates hazardous conditions (i.e., a water spout that leaks and forms ice).
Normal winter weather conditions constitute a natural accumulation of snow/ice. If the basis of your case is that the normal snow/ice was not properly shoveled/salted, there is no liability for the property owner. Likewise, snow that was tamped down by traffic, forming ice, is also considered natural. Puddles of water inside buildings from the melting snow tracked in by pedestrians are also natural.Slip-and-fall accidents can be difficult claims to prove because of the opinion-based nature of the evidence. Knowing the basics of a slip-and-fall accident claim process is important when reviewing your own situation. For experienced advice in slip-and-fall accident claims and help in proving your case, a Chicago slip-and-fall accident lawyer can help. Since most insurance companies try to understate your settlement offer, or even deny your claim outright, many slip-and-fall accident claims must go to trial for an appropriate settlement. An experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. can help you compile your case and take it to court, contact us today for a free case evaluation. 312-263-1080.