$42,500 For Letter Carrier Injured While Delivering The Mail

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Letter Carrier, Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls

letter-carrier-web

Our office recovered $42,500 for U.S. letter carrier injured while delivering the mail.

A thirty-six year old letter carrier letter carrier injured while delivering the mail sprained his ankle.  For many letter carriers, getting injured while delivering the mail can be an all too common occurrence.  The risks faced by the letter carrier are almost unlimited but this does not mean that the letter carrier is without rights.  In fact, a letter carrier has often time many rights, including the right to receive compensation from the property owner for his injuries.

When a letter carrier is injured while delivering the mail, he will automatically have a U.S. workers compensation claim.   This will compensate the letter carrier for lost wages and for payment of all of his medical bills incurred.  But this is only where the rights of the letter carrier begin.  The letter carrier injured while delivering the mail many times will also have a claim against the property owner, in this case, a home owner.

The law in Illinois provides that the owner or occupier of the premises owes to persons present on the premises the duty of exercising ordinary and reasonable care to see that the premises are reasonably safe for their use.  This includes duty to discover defects and dangerous conditions and the duty to correct dangers or to give sufficient warning of them.

The exception to this rule of liability to the property owner is when the defect is “open and obvious.”  The insurance carrier will invariably invoke this exception to liability by claiming that the defect was “open and obvious” and therefore, they are not responsible.

With all rules, there are exceptions to the rule.  And, there are exceptions to the exception.  In this case, even if the defect is “open and obvious”, the land owner can still be held liable if he had reason to expect that an invitee’s (i.e. Letter carrier) attention will be distracted, so that the letter carrier will not discover what is obvious, or will forget what he has discovered, or will fail to protect himself against it

In this case, the letter carrier injured while delivering the mail was walking up the front porch steps of an obviously defective front porch steps.  So naturally, the insurance carrier claimed there was not liability since the defect was “open and obvious.”  However, because it was reasonable to assume that the letter carrier may have been distracted, the home owner was found liable.

The injuries in this case were not serious and did not require surgery.  Nevertheless, even for this injury, a sprained ankle, our office was able to obtain for the letter carrier $42,500.00.  Letter carriers sustain these and more serious injuries frequently and many times receive nothing for their injuries.

If you are injured due to a defect on the premises which cause you injury, even a relatively minor injury, do not try to resolve these legal issues without an attorney.  CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE.

$82,500 for Woman Who Tripped and Fell at Train Station

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Premises Liability, Trip and Falls

Union-Station-x-wide

Our office obtained $82,500 for Woman Who Tripped and Fell at Train Station.

A 53 year old visually impaired woman tripped and fell while walking in Union Station, a train depot in downtown Chicago. The cause of the fall was an electrical cord that was simply lying on the ground. After the fall, the insurance carrier denied the claim, stating that our client should have been looking where she was going. The electrical cord was, they stated, “open and obvious.” In Illinois, “open and obvious” defects, in this case the electrical cord lying on the floor, is a legal defense to liability. It made no difference to the insurance carrier that our client was legally blind. Because the case was denied, we filed suit in the Circuit Court.

It was only after years of litigation that we were finally able to prevail and recover for our client. A case that to many sounds so simple and obvious was not simple and obvious to the insurance carrier. They actually argued, with a straight face, that the blind woman should have seen an “open and obvious” electrical cord lying on the floor. It did not matter to the insurance carrier that the woman was blind! It never occurred to the insurance carrier that perhaps the electrical cord should not have been lying on the floor in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic.

The insurance carrier first denied that the extension cord lying on the floor was a dangerous condition to pedestrians, even blind pedestrians. We proved that it was. When this defense did not work the insurance carrier then denied that the electrical cord was in fact lying on the floor in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic. We proved that it was. The insurance company then denied that the extension cord was in fact the cause of the fall. We proved that the extension cord lying on the floor was in fact the cause of the fall.

If you sustain a trip and fall, do not assume that the insurance company will accept responsibility. They will probably not. Most likely, the insurance company will deny everything, even the obvious. They will argue that you should have seen the obstacle. They will argue that you were not paying attention to where you were walking. They will argue that the object that caused you to fall was not the actual cause of your fall. And they might even argue that you did not even fall. And if you did fall, which they will probably dispute, they will argue that you were not hurt from the fall. In short, expect the insurance company to deny everything, from the fall to the cause of the fall to the injury itself.

If you or your loved one sustains an injury from a trip and fall, don’t assume that the insurance company will accept responsibility for the fall. Call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale, P.C.

$65,000: FALL WHILE WALKING IN THE CEMETERY

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls

FALL WHILE WALKING IN THE CEMETERY

FALL WHILE WALKING IN THE CEMETERY

 

 

Our client, a 62 year old woman visiting her husband at the cemetery,  had a fall while walking in the cemetery caused by the uneven ground.  The ground had been dug up earlier for burial sites but the employees of the cemetery did not properly compact the dirt, leaving a large hole which our client stepped in.  The law allows recovery against landowners who create a dangerous condition on their property.  In this case, the fall while walking in the cemetery was caused by the uneven ground,  a dangerous condition that was created by the cemetery.  And, because the condition was both unreasonably dangerous and created by the cemetery, the cemetery was legally liable and therefore responsible for the injuries and damages of our client.

To be successful in a case like this, we need to prove that the fall while walking in the cemetery was caused by a condition created by the cemetery.   Simply proving that the ground is uneven is not sufficient to prove a case.  We needed to prove that the uneven ground was actually created by the cemetery.  To do this, we needed to document and preserve the conditions at the exact area of the fall immediately after the fall.  To document the scene, we take pictures of the freshly disturbed ground and the contrast with immediate area.  An examination of the area, preserved with pictures, will show that the area had been freshly dug up, in this case, by the cemetery employees.   When presented with this clear and incontrovertible evidence, the cemetery had to concede that our client’s fall walking in the cemetery was in fact caused by a condition that they in fact created.  The result was a $65,000.00 recovery for our client.

If you have a fall while walking in the cemetery while visiting your loved ones, call our office immediately so we can get the same recovery for you!

$47,500 For Woman Injured Walking On Uneven Grounds At The Cemetery

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Cemetery, Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls, Uncategorized

Cemetery-2-web

 

Our office recovered $47,500 for a woman injured walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery.

 

Our client, a 50 year old woman injured walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery visiting her loved one, stepped into a hole at the cemetery and injured her right foot.  The general rule is the owner of cemetery has a duty to exercise reasonable care to see that the premises are safe for their use, namely, walking.  This duty includes the responsibility to discover defects and dangerous conditions on the property.  This duty also includes the obligation to correct the defects or to give sufficient warning of the defects.

 

There are however exceptions to the responsibility of the cemetery owner to correct defects, such as holes in the ground.  Specifically, the cemetery does not have to warn of dangers that are “open and obvious.”  This means that if while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery the hole in the ground was clearly visible, (i.e. “open and obvious”), then the cemetery will argue that it was not responsible for the resulting injury.

 

As with all legal doctrines, there are exceptions to the general rule and then exceptions to the exceptions.  And so, there is an exception to the rule of no liability for “open and obvious” conditions.  Specifically, the cemetery will still be held liable for injuries sustained while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery even though the hole was open and obvious if it was foreseeable that the visitor’s attention would be distracted and that the visitor would not discover the dangerous condition.  Naturally, reasonable people will disagree as to what is “open and obvious” as well as to whether a reasonable person would be “distracted” and fail to appreciate the danger.

 

If you are injured while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery in the cemetery, the insurance company will almost certainly try to put the blame on you. That is, they will argue that you were not looking where you were going and that the defect was “open and obvious.”  If you had been looking where you were going, you would have seen the defect. Or, they will argue that you in fact did see where you were going and saw the defect but choose to ignore the risk.  Since you saw the defect prior to your injury, it is your fault. Either way, the insurance company will try to blame you for your injury.

 

If you are injured while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery, there are certain things you should do.  First, get the names and addresses of all witnesses to the incident. The property owner or its employees cannot be counted on to be your witness.  Second, give notice of the incident and your injury to the cemetery before you leave the grounds. Make sure a written report of the incident is made. It is crucial that the written report identifies exactly what your injury. Obtain a copy of that report.  Third, you will need to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries from the incident. With the help of your doctor you should identify all affected areas of your body, regardless of how minor they may seem at the time. Many injuries and side effects don’t manifest themselves fully until days or weeks later and they may be more debilitating than you first assumed.  Fourth, get a camera and take pictures of the scene, focusing on what caused your injury. This of course may not be possible in every instance.  Finally, call an attorney immediately.

 

If you need help, call LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE, PC. We have the capabilities and know-how to prosecute your claim. Don’t hesitate to call us today. There is no fee unless and until we successfully reach a settlement and there is a recovery. Our consultations are also free and are only a short phone call away. Let us help you; all you have to do is dial (312) 372-0300 now!

 

$105,000 For Woman Who Slipped And Fell At A Restaurant

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls, Uncategorized

 

wet-floor-sign-web

 

Our office obtained $105,000 for woman who slipped and fell at a restaurant.

A 61 year old woman slipped and fell at a restaurant as the result of debris left on the floor.

The restaurant was an all you can eat buffet which was busy during the holiday season.  Typically at these buffet type restaurants, the patron serves herself and the busboy clears the table of the finished dishes.  To do this, many times a rolling dish cart is used to stack the used dishes, and sometimes the dish cart is over stacked and there is some leakage of food or drink onto the floor.  And that is exactly what happened.  A dish cart used to store the used dishes was leaking liquid and food onto the floor.  When our client walked past the dish cart, she slipped and fell on the wet floor.  After the fall, the insurance carrier denied the claim, stating that the dish cart was not over-stacked and leaking or that the floor wet.  Suit was filed against the restaurant.

 

The general rule is that the owner of the restaurant has a duty to exercise “reasonable care” to see that the premises are safe for their use, namely, walking.  This duty includes the responsibility to discover defects and dangerous conditions on the property.  This duty also includes the obligation to correct the defect or to give sufficient warning of the defect.  Once the restaurant shows that it in fact did exercise “reasonable care” such as timely and repeated monitoring of the floor, the burden of proof then shifts to the patron.   To be successful in her claim, the patron must now prove that the restaurant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, in this case, the wet and slippery floor.  Trying to prove that the restaurant knew, or should have known, of the wet and slippery fall can be very difficult, especially when they always deny any knowledge of any spills.

 

Once you are successful in proving that the restaurant knew or should have known of the wet and slippery floor, the insurance company will almost certainly try to put the blame on you for falling. That is, they will argue that you were not looking where you were going and that the wet floor was “open and obvious.”  If you had been looking where you were going, you would have seen the wet floor. Or, they will argue that you in fact did see where you were going and saw the wet floor but choose to ignore the risk.  Since you saw the wet floor prior to your fall, it is your fault. Either way, the insurance company will try to blame you for your injury.

 

If you slip and fall while walking on a wet floor at a restaurant, there are certain things you should do.  First, get the names and addresses of all witnesses to the incident. The property owner or its employees cannot be counted on to be your witness.  Second, give notice of the incident and your injury to the restaurant before you leave the grounds. Make sure a written report of the incident is made. It is crucial that the written report identifies exactly what your injury. Obtain a copy of that report.  Third, you will need to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries from the incident. With the help of your doctor you should identify all affected areas of your body, regardless of how minor they may seem at the time. Many injuries and side effects don’t manifest themselves fully until days or weeks later and they may be more debilitating than you first assumed.  Fourth, get a camera and take pictures of the scene, focusing on what caused your injury. This of course may not be possible in every instance.  Finally, call an attorney immediately.

 

If you need help, call LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE, PC. We have the capabilities and know-how to prosecute your claim. Don’t hesitate to call us today. There is no fee unless and until we successfully reach a settlement and there is a recovery. Our consultations are also free and are only a short phone call away. Let us help you; all you have to do is dial (312) 372-0300 now!

 

 

 

$75,000 for Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Landlord Tenant, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls, Trip and Falls

Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor

Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor

Our office recovered $75,000 for Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor.

A thirty-five year old woman, a tenant of the building she was living in, exited her apartment and tripped on the uneven hallway floor. The landlord had not repaired the uneven hallway floor even though the uneven floor had existed in this condition for a period of time.

The law in Illinois provides that the landlord has a duty to maintain the condition of common areas of the building. Common areas are generally those areas of the building that are used by all the tenants. If the landlord fails to repair or maintain the common areas, and a tenant in injured as the result of that failure to repair, the landlord can be held liable to for the injuries sustained by the tenant.

The insurance carrier will however attempt to escape liability, even in cases where liability would seem clear. The insurance company will first claim that the tenant never told the landlord of the dangerous condition. That is, the landlord will simply claim that he was simply unaware of the uneven floor. This is not a good defense, since actual notice of the dangerous condition is not required if the landlord created the condition, or had constructive notice of the condition or should have known of the condition. The landlord has a duty to discover the defective condition and to correct or repair the defective condition.

The insurance company will next claim the tenant herself was negligent. After all, the tenant most likely knew of the dangerous condition prior to the injury. And, the tenant was able to avoid the dangerous condition for days, weeks, sometimes months prior to the incident. The landlord will simply argue that the dangerous condition was open and obvious. This is a very common defense by landlords. And, on this particular occasion, the tenant may have been further negligent by rushing or not being particularly careful. The insurance company will rely on yet another legal theory, the doctrine of comparative negligence. That is, sometimes both parties can be at fault and liability should be allocated to both parties relative to their degree of fault. Using the theory of comparative negligence, the recovery to the tenant, if any, can be reduced to half.

There is yet another legal theory that the tenant can use to his defense. That is, there is an exception to the doctrine of open and obvious if the tenant was distracted when she fell. Many times the tenant will be distracted at the time of the incident. This is a valid exception to the doctrine of open and obvious if this tenants’ distraction was reasonable.

If you are injured due to the negligence of your landlord, do not try to resolve these legal issues without an attorney. Call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale.

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Law Offices of Charles J. Gale, PC
14007 South Bell Road, Suite #254
Homer Glen, Illinois 60491

(630) 243-6409