Should You Sue or Settle Your Illinois Slip & Fall Injury Case?
If you have an Illinois slip-and-fall injury case, you might be offered a settlement by the party responsible for your injury. The question then is, should you take it?
The answer will depend on several factors. Your attorney will weigh the strength of the settlement offer, the quality of your case, and other circumstances to advise you on the best course of action. Here are a few things you need to know.
Understanding Illinois Slip and Fall Injury Law
If you have been injured from a slip-and-fall accident at someone's home or business and you think it was the result of the negligence or recklessness of another person, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover costs related to your injury. Those costs might include medical bills, lost earnings, or intangible costs involving any other pain, emotional distress, or permanent physical disability you suffered.
The Illinois Premises Liability Act sets out the legal responsibilities property owners have in maintaining their properties. For you to have a viable case, you must prove that those responsible for the property either failed to maintain it or created unsafe conditions that caused your injury. You might also have to prove that they knew the premises were dangerous but didn't alert visitors or tenants.
Whether the unsafe conditions were permanent or temporary is also an issue. If the condition was temporary, how long it existed could impact your ability to prove negligence or other wrongdoing.
What Is Involved in an Illinois Slip-and-Fall Settlement?
Settlements can occur before, during, or after a lawsuit is filed.
In most cases, a personal injury attorney will seek a settlement first because it's often the fastest and easiest way to reach an acceptable agreement for both parties. If your attorney works out a settlement, you agree to cease any legal action towards the defendant for an agreed-upon monetary amount. If both parties agree to the terms, the attorneys can conclude the case without ever taking it to court.
Should You Accept an Illinois Slip-and-Fall Settlement?
If you're offered a settlement for your slip-and-fall injury, the first thing to remember is that a settlement is not necessarily an admission of guilt by the property owner. Oftentimes, insurance companies recommend a settlement to avoid costly litigation even if the insurance company believes it could win the case in court.
Your attorney will look at the amount of the settlement and compare that offer against the merits of your slip-and-fall case. If he or she thinks your case may not prevail in court, your attorney might recommend accepting even a small settlement offer.
However, if your attorney believes your case is strong but the initial settlement is inadequate, he or she may try to negotiate a better settlement with the other party. Both you and your attorney might find that preferable to a trial because a fair settlement will conclude your case faster and save court and trial costs.
If settlement negotiations fail, though, your attorney might recommend a lawsuit. As part of that decision, your lawyer will also consider your future needs - for example if your injuries are likely to present further problems down the road.
To Sue or to Settle - There's No Single Answer
Settling an Illinois slip-and-fall lawsuit out of court can be advantageous. It can save you from the stress of a potentially contentious and exhausting trial. But sometimes, reaching a settlement you and your attorney find fair simply isn't possible. Your attorney is the best person to advise on whether suing or settling is ultimately the best course of action.
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