If you have slipped and fallen on someone else’s property, and if that has resulted in a severe or lasting injury, you may have a personal injury case. Making your claim can be a long, costly process, however, and it might not be immediately apparent how bad your injury is at the start. You might wonder if it’s really worthwhile to make a lawsuit for your slip and fall injury.
Does the Case Meet the Criteria?
In order to even qualify as a personal injury claim, it must meet certain requirements. If even one of these is not met, you likely don’t have a claim. The requirements include:
- Your injury was the result of a hazard on the property
- The property owner was negligent in resolving the hazard
- You were on the property legally
- The property owner owed you a duty to make sure the property was safe
- You were not being negligent (if you were, comparative fault rules may apply)
Even assuming your case meets these criteria, it’s no guarantee that it will be worth pursuing. Some other factors to keep in mind follow below.
Value of Damages Vs. Cost of Litigation
Litigation takes time and money. Legal and court fees might end up costing more than the case is even worth. The value of your damages should be high enough that it makes the time, effort, and money spent worthwhile.
There are a number of damages that factor into the worth of your personal injury case, including:
- Medical expenses, which depend largely on the severity of your injury
- Lost wages from inability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Illinois law does not have a cap on the amount of money that you can recover, so there is no maximum amount for damages. If your injury has rendered you unable to work and has incurred vast medical expenses, your case will most likely be worthwhile.
The property owner will have a chance to defend him or herself, of course. Part of that will involve a deposition, which is something of an interview with the property owner’s attorney. Your answers will be recorded, and you will be expected to give them under oath, so you need to be honest, especially since the other attorney will have researched your background thoroughly.
The deposition can be rough, so be certain you’re willing to go through with it before deciding to pursue a personal injury claim.
These cases take time – six months at the bare minimum. They can be highly stressful and may not be guaranteed success either. You need to be able to prove that you are owed damages for your slip and fall accident, and that requires good evidence. Taking pictures on site at the time of the accident will help your case, but you may also need an expert witness to round things out as well, and that can be pricey.
If you are wondering whether to pursue a personal injury claim after a slip and fall accident, consulting with an experienced attorney, such as those at Hart & David, can help you make a wise decision.