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Causation In Slip And Fall Injury Cases


Injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents commonly result in the pursuit of legal action, and these risks increase as seasons change and the weather gets colder. Icy sidewalks and wet leaves can create slippery surfaces, and snow tracked into buildings can leave puddles on hard floors. All business- and property-owners should certainly be aware of these foreseeable risks to protect visitors from potential falls.

Most slip-and-fall accidents which result in injuries are due to some form of neglect on behalf of the property owner. When such cases go to court, however, whether they fail or succeed often depends on the question of causation. Aside from declaring the damages being sought for the injuries, the injured client’s attorney must establish a “clear line of causation” between the damages sought and negligence on behalf of the property owner. This must be shown in several steps. First, it must be established that the property owner’s negligence caused the slip-and-fall risk to exist; then, that the particular hazard caused the victim to slip and fall; then, demonstrate that the victim’s injuries, and the damage being sought, were caused by that particular accident.

As a practical example, imagine that an apartment tenant slipped on a patch of wet leaves and broke her wrist on a Monday morning; the storm which brought down so many leaves occurred the previous Saturday, but her property owner had not yet arranged for them to be raked or blown away. In court, the tenant’s lawyer may present a photograph of the wet leaves where the accident occurred, but establishing causation goes beyond this; he/she must also prove that the property owner breached his duty of care in a way that caused the risk to be present in the first place. A neighbor’s testimony could be useful here, such as a tenant who provided notice to the owner over that particular weekend.

With or without testimony, the lawyer must establish a causal connection between the hazardous wet leaves and accident that occurred to the tenant. This may seem redundant, but insurance companies of property owners are certainly willing to hire a lawyer who will question the basic circumstances of the accident. Finally, the lawyer must show that the damages being sought were caused by the injury/injuries sustained, and survive a likely challenge from an opposing lawyer on behalf of the property owner. However, with a highly experienced lawyer in personal injury cases, the tenant will succeed and collect her well-deserved compensation.

If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.

Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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