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Who can I sue if I fall on an icy sidewalk?

In a city like Chicago, where getting around requires residents to walk virtually everywhere, slipping on icy sidewalks is definitely a real concern. If you’ve ever experienced a slip and fall, then you’re likely aware just how serious the injuries that may result can be. Fortunately, in many cases, you can sue either the owner of the business or home who failed to properly maintain his or her property.

No matter if you slip and fall in a parking lot, on the sidewalk, on the stairs or in the driveway of a commercial or residential property, you may be entitled to sue its owner for any injuries you receive. Whether you’re able to sue depends greatly on where the fall occurred, why you were there, and other circumstances surrounding your fall.

Whether your slip and fall occurs on a government agency’s premises, at a commercial building or at a residential property, each entity has a duty to take reasonable precautions to keep their sidewalks clean. This includes making sure that ice is plowed or salted to reduce the potential of falls.

While filing a lawsuit against a private property owner for your injuries is a fairly straightforward process if you fall on a private property, filing a lawsuit against a government entity is generally handled differently. It’s often required that a notice of claim to be filed first with them.

Depending on the jurisdiction, the government agency that this notice is filed with may have a policy in place whereby they have to be given as much as six months to admit responsibility, respond or settle to the claim. In areas in that such a policy exists, a victim is generally only allowed to file a more formalized lawsuit against the government agency after that.

If you’ve been involved in a slip-and-fall incident, then it’s likely that the parcel’s owner where you fell will argue that you weren’t authorized to be on the property when the incident occurred. Even if you weren’t trespassing at the time, they may even assert that you were engaging in careless behavior around the time of your incident, causing you to fall.

In learning more about the moments leading up to your slip and fall, a Chicago personal injury attorney can advise you of legal remedies available to you in your case.

Source: FindLaw, “Slip-and-fall on an icy sidewalk: Can you sue?,” Brett Snider, accessed Jan. 02, 2018

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