To prove a property owner liable for your injuries, you need to show how a known hazard on the premises caused a preventable accident. Typical mishaps include slippery floors, obstructions and broken stairs.

According to ConsumerNotice.org, slip and fall accidents represent the third most common lawsuit requiring compensation. A traumatic brain injury or a fracture caused by a fall could require long-term hospitalization, medical care and rehabilitation.

When and how must property owners react to hazards?

As soon as property owners become aware of hazardous conditions on their premises, they owe a duty to warn others about it. Illinois’ laws do not require an elaborate warning, but failing to provide one generally serves as proof of a property owner’s negligence.

Reasonable warnings can take many forms. Orange cones placed around a slippery floor could provide an effective warning. Barricades or signs could also warn you to stay away from a hazardous or damaged area.

What if property hazards result in injuries?

Commercial property owners owe a duty to maintain a safe premises for their customers. A store or restaurant, for example, must prevent ice, snow or debris from accumulating on the establishment’s sidewalks, approaches and parking lots. When snow falls or ice forms, taking action, such as salting the ground, can help prevent customers from slipping.

If a natural amount of water accumulates, a property owner may attempt to claim that you caused your own accident. This may not prove successful, however, when water has accumulated to the point where it becomes hazardous. If, for example, excessive mud formed and it caused you to slip and break your ankle, you may file a legal action against the property owner for your injuries.