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Handling Trip and Fall Cases for the Elderly

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Results Matter

We represented a woman in her 80s who tripped and fell on some construction equipment while shopping in a grocery store.  She broke her shoulder requiring surgery and rehabilitation.

Handling a personal injury case in Chicago for an elderly person is an entirely different ball game than handling a personal injury case for someone who is younger. I’m writing this article after having just closed out a case on behalf of one of my law firm’s elderly clients. Taking a moment to pat my team on our collective backs, the outcome was excellent.

We represented a woman in her 80s who tripped and fell on some construction equipment while shopping in a grocery store.  She broke her shoulder requiring surgery and rehabilitation.

In our Complaint at Law, we filed an ordinary negligence count against the construction company who was doing some work in the grocery store.  We filed a premises liability count against the grocery store.

After much litigation and a pre-trial settlement conference (ran masterfully by the Federal Judge presiding over the case), we obtained a very large six-figure settlement.  Beyond the successful settlement, I also learned an important lesson handling this case which will help me be a better injury lawyer for my elderly clients, and at the same time, learned that life is fragile.

Time is Important When Handling Personal Injury Cases for the Elderly

I signed this premises liability case up a few years ago.  The family of the elderly lady called me and asked me to meet with her at the rehabilitation center where she was.  I was glad to do so.  I went, met with the elderly lady and most of her family – they were very nice people.  I interviewed the elderly woman and felt she had a decent personal injury case that I could help her with.  She hired me.  Though she had some pain from her shoulder surgery, her mind was sound.  I didn’t feel the need to hurry her case along; in retrospect, I should have.

The Initial Plan – Pursue this Premises Liability Case as a Claim

My initial plan was to wait until treatment was done, gather her medical records and bills, then submit a demand package to the responsible insurance companies.  I firmly thought this was a case that should settle without the need for time-consuming and expensive litigation.  I’ve been in the personal injury business for two decades so my judgment is pretty good in this regard.  Well, I almost made a mistake by not rushing things along.

My client’s medical treatment went smoothly.  She was done with treatment within approximately six months after her trip and fall accident.  We ordered her medical records and bills.  That process takes about 30 – 60 days.

Once we had the records and bills, we forwarded them to the responsible insurance company.  They said they needed about 60 days to review and evaluate the case.  That is not unreasonable for a personal injury claim of this nature.  I waited patiently to hear back from the insurance company.

I did not hear back from them.  When 60 days passed, I called and was told something along the lines of “we have a meeting tomorrow regarding this case and will get back to you within a week or two.”  Of course, they would not get back to me, at least with any settlement authority.

When I did speak with them, they just made excuses of why they haven’t been able to make me an offer.  I considered that they might be waiting for my client to pass on, therefore destroying her personal injury claim.  I hated thinking like that but I did work for an insurance company previously; it doesn’t take months and months to evaluate and negotiate a legitimate claim.

Eventually, I was forced to file a lawsuit.  I did this despite the fact that this was a straightforward case that, in my opinion, didn’t need to be litigated.

Time for Litigation

Litigation moved forward at the usual pace.  The defense seemed to move slowly but, in my mind, they always do.  As the case moved along, my client’s condition began to deteriorate.  She was diagnosed with dementia and that lively independent woman I met months ago was going downhill fast.

When it came time for her deposition – her time to give sworn testimony, her doctors and I felt she would be able to tell the truth.  She wouldn’t remember everything but being questioned by the defense lawyers would not be harmful to her health either.  Her deposition proceeded.

She did O.K. under the circumstances but the defense lawyers clearly saw that her condition was not good.  It appeared as if her days on this planet were limited.  As human beings, I like think the defense attorneys were empathetic to her cause.  However, as defense lawyers, I couldn’t help but think they saw this as a way to save some money for the insurance companies who paid the bills.

They knew that if my client passed, her case would be essentially worthless.  All of the sudden, they wanted to slow the already slow pace down some more.

I think that was the defense’s tactic – delay things until this woman was no longer with us.  It disgusted me.  As such, I convinced the Federal Judge to put this case on a fast track.  The Judge agreed despite the defense attorneys’ protest.

The case eventually settled. My client still has time to enjoy the monetary proceeds of that settlement.  She was able to use the funds to move to a much nicer nursing home where she will live out her days in peace, surrounded by family and friends.

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer: Lack of Motion Can Cause Serious Pain

With seniors making up a larger percentage of the population, we are seeing a significant increase in ailments that commonly affect seniors, most notably: mobility.

Adults are living longer than ever before. But longer life does not necessarily equate to fewer health problems.

Some adults may be strapped down to prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Other adults may be comatose or otherwise catatonic. However the immobility is caused, an important duty on behalf of the hospital or nursing home is to physically move the patient or resident, lest they incur one of the many injuries that accompany immobility.

Below are a few of the injuries caused by immobility. If you or a loved one has been affected by any of these, a Chicago personal injury attorney can advise on the best course of action.


When someone is immobilized, catatonic, or comatose, it is very important to move their joints regularly. Under utilization of the joints in the fingers, hands, arms, or legs can cause the connective tissue in the joints to lose its natural elasticity. If this elasticity is lost, the joint cannot move properly without pain for the patient. This loss of range of motion is called a contracture, and while it most often affects the elderly, it can happen to younger people as well. Nurses, doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes owe a duty of care to their patients/residents. If the joints of an immobile patient are not regularly exercised, the facility and its staff may have opened themselves up to liability for the resulting muscle contracture.


If someone is bedridden or confined to a wheelchair, and is unable to move due to immobilization, sedation, or coma, their body makes contact at only a few points with the chair or bed. This contact creates pressure on those few points. If the body is not moved, relieving pressure on those points, a sore can occur.

Sores like this are called bedsores, pressure sores, or pressure ulcers. They can be as mild as a mere break in the skin and a bruise, or they can be so severe as to leave exposed bone. One of the duties of a facility administering to an immobile patient is to regularly shift the body to move pressure to other parts, preventing the development of bedsores. If a bedsore occurs, it is likely that someone has negligently failed to shift the patient, and this can result in liability for the facility and its staff.

Malnourishment and Dehydration

Those who are catatonic, comatose, or otherwise nonverbal may not be able to effectively communicate their needs to nurses or doctors. Because of this, hospital or nursing home staff may allow their patients to slip their minds, neglecting to bring them food or to change their IV bags. Some patients must be fed through a feeding tube; others get all of their nutrition through an IV. Regardless, if the staff neglects to regularly monitor the patient, the patient could get dehydrated or malnourished. Injury caused by such neglect would allow the patient to be compensated for extra costs needed to treat the injury.

Traumatic Brain Injuries In Elderly Present Unique Challenges

Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can leave a victim with permanent disabilities. If a personal injury accident claim is not handled properly during the investigative stage, an elderly victim may not get the damages that they deserve. Compensation may be reduced or even denied. TBI patients who are above the age of 40 years old should consult a Chicago personal injury attorney who understands the effects of age and other conditions when combined with a TBI. This can help elderly TBI victims get maximum compensation for their injury.

Special Concerns of Elderly Victims

A traumatic brain injury can cause irreparable damage to the brain. TBI can cause death of the brain tissue, affecting a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Older victims of TBI often have special concerns.

Effect of Age on Outcome of Traumatic Brain Injury

The older the victim is, the poorer the outcome after a traumatic brain injury. With age, the brain loses the ability to heal itself and restore function. Older victims are more likely to experience disability and need for placement in a nursing home.

A traumatic brain injury can aggravate the rate of atrophy in older victims. A patient may not be able to recover any damages for the atrophy that has occurred naturally before the injury, but any atrophy that is attributable to TBI can help establish the severity of the injury. It is the responsibility of the victim and the lawyer to provide evidence to distinguish naturally occurring atrophy from injury-related atrophy. This can have a huge impact on the final compensation award.

Alzheimer’s and Traumatic Brain injury

TBI is a known risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. If an elderly victim had Alzheimer’s or dementia prior to the TBI, proper evidence and expert testimony may be required to establish aggravation of preexisting conditions due to the TBI.

Time is of the Essence when Handling Injury Cases for the Elderly

I learned from this case that, when handling personal injury cases for elderly persons, time is of the essence.  Aging is sometimes harsh and diseases associated with the elderly, such as dementia, can strike without warning.  It is important to move these cases quickly so my elderly clients get the compensation they deserve, like everyone who suffers a personal injury.  I also learned that life is precious.  This case caused me to reflect on my relationship with my elderly mother, who I owe everything to. I call and visit her more often because of the lessons I learned representing this case.

Let us help with your case, Call Us 24/7: (312) 957-4166

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Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Navigate Your Injury Case

Willen’s Injury Law Offices’ Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers have varied and extensive experience with personal injury law, from both sides of the aisle, is a true asset for their clients. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys not only have years of litigation and negotiation experience working for victims of accidents or negligence, but they also have Matthew L. Willens’ background as a former insurance company executive. 

Additionally, another accident lawyer at the firm, David Baez, spent the first part of his career as a defense attorney who represented insurance companies. As the firm’s clients sometimes say, “It’s like they know the other side’s playbook!”

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Twenty-five years of success in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.


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No fees unless we win, plus we advance all costs.


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We are dedicated to obtaining the best possible resolution for our clients.

Client Reviews

Willens Injury Law Offices was highly recommended by a friend. Upon my initial consultation, David was very friendly yet profesional. He was able to get a favorable result, I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends. Thank you!
Lucia R.
19:41 08 Apr 21
When I got into my accident in 2018, I was 18, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. David worked with me and made sure I was taken care of all the way to the end. He fought for my case and made sure I got the settlement I deserved. Definitely will be recommending the Willens office to my friends and family .Thank you!!!!
Emmalee R.
19:51 23 Nov 20
I 100% back this firm. I was in an accident that caused me some injury that needed medical attention. I reached out to Willens Law Offices to assist since I noticed a large amount of overwhelmingly positive reviews. Believe all the positive ones!!This firm is very professional and helpful from the beginning to end. They look out for their clients, and do their best to achieve 100% client satisfaction. If you consult with them to help, you will not be unhappy at the end.I want to give a huge shoutout to David Baez who assisted my throughout the entire case. I highly recommend him and this firm.Please note, if you utilize them and don't hear back a lot during the case, don't be alarmed. They will reach out to you when the time is right. They are not neglecting you, they are working hard day in and day out to resolve your case.1 Million % recommended!!!!!
Michael R.
18:42 13 Jun 20
It's been over a year since I was involved in my car accident - everyone knows that is a very stressful time for the injured party. I considered going through the whole process on my own but I quickly realized the insurance company was NOT my friend. I reached out to Willens Law Offices, met Matt and the attorney that would be handling my claim, David Baez. David was excellent, I'm big on communication and anytime I texted David; sometimes ad nauseam, he would always respond quickly and professionally. I had a ton of questions, and David answered everyone of them to my satisfaction. I could not have asked for a better attorney to fight for me, I have extremely high expectations and they were exceeded consistently.
Edmond P.
15:33 28 Apr 20
Reliable, efficient, & informative. Personable yet professional, Willens office took care of my every last need & then some!!
Kyle M.
15:35 10 Apr 20
I got into a car accident a couple years back, I didn’t know what to do so I researched on Google then found Willens law office. At the time it was new to me but after they help me out, guided me, let me in the right path and I haven’t been happy here ever since because justice was served! Thank you Willens coming from the Herrera family
Jose H.
18:38 03 Apr 20
I had an accident injuries and based on google reviews I reached out to Willens Law Offices in Chicago. David Baez helped me with my case. He came to meet us and understood our case in detail and he guided me all the steps of the process. I had advices from friends that you are unnecessarily going after the process and nothing will happen. David made everything worthwhile and he gave right advice always which was right for my health and right for the case. He worked very hard on my case for 2 years collecting all the paperwork, talking to physicians and taking care of my case and making it in my favor. I was truly blessed by having David Baez handling my case who was extremely professional, great ethics and felt as my family with him. After the injuries and pain I was afraid to select one but my God made me select the right one. If anyone feel they need accident injuries lawyer then I will only recommend David Baez. Nobody will beat his hard work, professionalisms, ethics and perseverance and yet down to earth and honest. Thank you for everything you have done for me and blessings from my heart for his success.
Mamta S.
14:25 06 Mar 20
David A. Baez at Willens Law office has been fantastic to work with. Very professional, informative and responsive to all questions. Hopefully I don't get into another car accident but if so I will call the Willens Law Offices asap.
steve B.
17:33 10 Dec 19
The initial impressions I had of this place turned out to be false, and I am thankful that I am pursuing the case with Mr. Willens. He is pretty incredible at what he does.
Donald B.
08:05 27 Nov 19
I can only say good things about Mr. Willens. He was fantastic, Aside from his awesome expertise, he is very down to earth and make you feel like family! HE TRULY CARES! Always eager to help and make himself available at every point of time. Thank you Matt again for everything!
Arthur L.
10:27 25 Nov 19
Truly passionate about their clients. Professional and easy to work with.
Peter W.
11:01 22 Nov 19
I came across Willens Law Offices after searching endlessly for a law firm to represent me in my personal injury case. I was well accommodated and he made me feel at ease, you truly feel like he will go the extra mile for you from the moment you hand the case over to him until the very end. I highly recommend this firm to anyone looking for representation!
Edna S.
10:05 20 Nov 19
If I ever find myself needing another law firm I will not hesitate for a second to contact him!
Micheal E.
10:12 18 Nov 19
I was involved in a car accident and was having trouble getting compensated for the amount I felt I should get. I contacted Willens Law Offices through a referral, worked with David Baez and had a very good experience. They helped educate me on the process along with helping me get what I deserved. I would HIGHLY recommend contacting them if you are involved in an accident.
mohsin M.
19:38 15 Nov 19
His staff was always so nice and friendly and responded promptly if I ever had any questions. I'm very thankful to come across them and will highly recommend them!
Rodrick M.
10:04 15 Nov 19
I'm sending a special thanks to Matt for working patiently and closely with me regarding the status of my case till the end. I can't recommend him highly enough.
Randy D.
14:08 13 Nov 19
Throughout the process of the case, he did an exceptional job. The entire process was extremely smooth and the staff kept me up to date on the status of my case. I give him 5 stars as he is the best legal attorney there is in the greater Illinois area. He truly deserve it.
Regina B.
15:40 11 Nov 19
I just want to thank Mr. Willens for being extremely reliable and diligent. He was able to adequately answer all my questions and concerns. He settled my case rather quickly. I will definitely recommend him to friends and family.
Bernadette F.
15:43 08 Nov 19
I was involved in a bad accident with multiple cars and I was in a terrible shape. Matt Willens handled my case exceptionally. Everyone that helped was also great! he was detailed and clear in all our communication and he always made sure I was aware of everything that was going on throughout my whole case. Really helped me get through a rough time. I am 100% satisfied with the outcome of my case. If you need a good lawyer on your side, look no further!
Laura W.
14:49 06 Nov 19
Willens Law Office handled my accident and they were incredible! Matt drove all the way to see me and I could see he really cared. He handled my injury case from start to finish and I’m now rebuilding the part of my life that I lost. Thanks for your help.
Todd Z.
05:55 11 Oct 19
I was involved in an accident back in last year and was searching for an attorney who looked like I can trust. I found Matt Willens and I am thankful. I called him up just to get a feel for him as a person and I could tell right away that he truly cared, not only about me but my family too. To say that he fought for us would be an understatement. He was ready to go to trial! Luckily we settled and it was for more money than I imagined, especially after my initial talk with the insurance company. Thanks Matt!
Paula D.
13:14 10 Oct 19
Matt Willens went above and beyond for my case. I felt as though he cared more about me and my situation than he did himself and the time that he was required to spend on my case. I highly recommend using him.
Marci P.
13:24 03 Sep 19
It was great to work with this firm. They handled every piece of paperwork. David Baez handled my case. He kept me informed through the whole process and treated me like family. I highly recommend David and the entire firm.
John C.
14:42 16 Aug 19
Willens Law is a firm I trust in because they specialize in personal injury matters. I have had a wonderful experience with Matt WIllens personally and I can say he is pleasant to work with and communicates thoroughly with his clients. I would recommend Willens Law.
Grant V.
05:28 19 Jul 19
I’m rarely compelled to leave a review for anyone but I felt I needed to show my gratitude.From the first time I spoke with Matt Willens on the phone I actually felt like he was there for me, looking after my best interests and not his own. That’s rare in my experience.Matt is an absolute pro and I wouldn’t think to call or recommend anyone else if I or a loved one were injured in the future. Thanks Matt!
Kyle W.
04:16 19 Jul 19
When I first contacted Willens law office, I just wanted to make sure everyone was paid after I was rear ended and I wasn’t the one doing it. My correspondence was primarily with David, he was always patient when I was slow to get him information and ended up calling me with great news after almost a year of back and forth with the at-fault insurance company.I can’t thank David and the Willens law office enough.
Amanda H
18:36 14 Jun 19
Willens Law Office is GREAT! David handled my case. He made me feel like family. He explained everything in detail every step of the way. He fought to get the results that would best benefit me. David is a great attorney. Thanks David and the Willens Law Office family.
Michael S.
17:53 31 May 19
Willens Law came highly recommended after I was badly injured when hit by an out of control car. I in turn most highly recommend Willens Law based on my great experience over the past year and a half.I am very pleased with both the outcome of my case as well as the experience working with Matt Willens and David Baez throughout the process.I had no specific expectation regarding a case outcome, seeking only ‘the best outcome possible.’ I certainly believe my case outcome was a great outcome. And I strongly believe that outcome was a direct result of fantastic work done by Matt and David.From beginning to end Matt and David were great to work with. They did a great job setting expectations; explaining what was to happen, including the why and the how; guiding me through the steps I needed to take; and answering both my “need to know” and “just curious” questions. They were always extremely prompt and clear in their guidance and responses to me.A silver lining in a tough situation was working with Matt and David, both of whom I came to respect professionally and like personally. I do most highly recommend Willens Law to others who may need such services.
18:55 22 May 19
Willens Law Offices is simply the best!!! David handle my case , and was nothing but professional! He is the best at what he do!!!!!Every step of the way, I was informed of my case!!!Thanks again!!
cassandra J.
17:55 26 Mar 19
Great team, did me right, pleasurable experience.
Robert P.
03:34 21 Feb 19
David Baez was prompt and professional in answering all of my questions.
Richard D.
00:19 07 Feb 19
David Baez was very professional, helpful and always kept me informed about my case. David responded quickly to any questions I may of had. I highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury case. Thanks again David for all the great work you did.
21:39 06 Nov 18
After being in an Uber accident about a year ago, I reached out to Willens Law to assist me through the settlement process. I had the pleasure of working with David Baez. From the start he was very personable and professional. He was always willing to educate me on the process and made sure I understood each step before going forward. Even after receiving my settlement, David has been willing to assist with any questions related to my case. I would highly recommend Willens Law.
Madelyn D.
02:47 05 Oct 18
I reached out to Willens Law Offices following a car accident that my girlfriend and I were involved in, and we met with David Baez for an in-person consultation shortly after. David was very personable and knowledgeable, and gave us confidence and peace of mind in a situation where we felt initially felt completely overwhelmed. There were times when we felt the communication could have been more proactive, but David was always responsive when we felt the need to check-in, even if there were no significant updates on our case. The process took a little longer than anticipated, but David was honest, thorough, and professional throughout.Overall, great experience and I'd recommend to anyone in need. Thank you David!
Geoff B.
20:44 17 Sep 18
After I was injured, and after researching Chicago's best law firms, I found Willens Law and read their reviews. After meeting Matt, I retained their services, along with the special efforts of his Partner, David Baez.They handled my case in a professional, efficient manner, while keeping me regularly informed. We worked incredibly well together, and won a very nice settlement. You would be foolish not to consider Willens Law for your Counsel, as I did. I highly recommend them!Ed Dybas
Ed D.
21:26 07 Sep 18
We had a very positive experience and felt their representation was very effective.
Kent M.
22:43 29 Aug 18
Working with Willens Law was a pleasure. They were responsive and extremely pleasant whenever I had questions or concerns. In my case, I personally took a little longer than I should have to start the process on my end, but David was able to pickup on my delay and process my personal injury case in a timely manner. I would highly recommend Willens Law and David when looking for an attorney to represent you in a case.
Maggie O.
14:07 23 Jul 18
I had a tremendous experience with this law firm, and I would highly recommend them. I had a bicycle injury caused by a negligent Uber car, and when I was first doing research and calling law firms all over the Chicago area to find representation, Matt Willens himself returned my call personally within ten minutes. I found that to be a huge integrity move as every other firm I contacted had a lower level employee call me back. Nothing wrong with that per se, but to have the lawyer whose name is on the door personally return my call meant a hell of a lot to me and was ultimately why I decided to meet with them first.I made an appointment and met Mr. Willens and the fantastic young attorney David Baez in their offices and they were wonderful to deal with. They are down-to-earth, funny, intelligent, tenacious, capable, experienced lawyers who explained the entire process to me in a way I could understand and made me feel comfortable and confident, and we were off and running with my case.I work in a law firm and I know exactly how slowly the wheels of justice turn, and my case was settled in about half the time that these things normally take! Amazing results. Mr. Baez and his team were incredible throughout and kept me informed every step of the way, and negotiated a higher settlement number and a lower fee for the insurance company in the eleventh hour which meant more money in my pocket!! I wholeheartedly recommend this law firm for your personal injury case. They are highly skilled and I couldn't be happier. This organization is fantastic and they will produce results for you.
15:01 05 Jun 18
Matt has been there for us every step of the way. He, personally, has taken the time to answer all of our questions. We never feel like we are bothering him or pestering him. We have only experienced patience and professionalism from both Matt and his team.
Maribeth C.
15:45 03 May 18
David was very good at keeping me up to date with what was going on and helping with every step throughout the entire process. I could not have asked for better representation.
Jennifer B.
21:14 24 Apr 18
David Baez was an excellent representation of the Willens Law Office. He achieved my desired result along with keeping me updated during the entire process. Very fortunate to have him by my side - thank you David.
keith B.
19:29 20 Apr 18
Matt is an impressive attorney and person! Took on State Farm and won for me. Highly recommend Matt for PI cases.
Danielle B.
22:47 10 Apr 18
This Law firm has been very prompt and kind in dealing with my case. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs injury lawyers.
F Z.
22:45 10 Apr 18
I used Willens Law for a personal injury claim. Matt was knowledgeable and professional. He also responded quickly which I really appreciated. I would definitely recommend.
Robyn R.
21:44 29 Mar 18
After a bad auto accident, and months of rehab, Matt Willens and his staff worked with me as though they were part of my family. They were professional, courteous and looking out for my best interest during the entire legal process. I would highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury.
dan B.
19:27 25 Mar 18

What Types of Cases Can Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Injured in an Accident? Give Us a Call Today: (312)-957-4166

Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle My Case?

You are not legally required to have a personal injury attorney to handle your injury claim. You could file all the necessary paperwork yourself and represent yourself in court. However, your chances of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are much higher if you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Why You Shouldn't Settle Directly With An Insurance Company

Insurance providers will try to get you to settle quickly. In the midst of your crisis, they might offer you what seems like a large dollar amount. The problem is they rarely make an offer of settlement for the true full cost of your damages. Don’t be misled, hospital bills aren’t the only things for which you will need compensation. You also need to keep in mind the suffering and pain associated with your traumatic event. 

Personal Injury Resources

Illinois Personal Injury FAQs

The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Willens Injury Law Offices respond to frequently asked questions related to personal injury, car accidents, medical malpractice, and workers’

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