Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
Whenever you enter someone’s property, the owner of that property is responsible for your safety. Hence, the owner could be liable if you get hurt due to a dangerous condition within the premises.
Premises liability is an area of personal injury law that holds property owners legally responsible for injuries that occur on their properties due to unsafe conditions. Whether loose wiring or poorly stacked merchandise, every property owner has the legal duty to remove any hazard or warn others of its presence.
If you or a loved one suffers an injury on someone else’s property, you could hold the owner or non-owner tenant liable by filing a premises liability claim. However, accidents are not always easy to prove. Let the personal injury lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, help you seek the financial compensation you deserve for others’ negligence.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your premises liability case.
What is Premises Liability?
Property owners and non-owner residents have a duty of care to maintain a relatively safe environment on their property to prevent injury to others. Owners are legally required to fix any hazards on their property and ensure guests have reasonable warnings of any dangers.
When owners and non-owner residents violate this duty of care, people who come on their property may sustain injuries. Consequently, they could be held responsible for injured parties’ damages.
A Property Owner’s Duty of Care
Property owners owe different levels of care depending on the status of the guest that enters their property.
- Invitees: These people are invited to the property for the commercial benefit of the owner, such as customers. Property owners owe invitees the highest level of care and are responsible for ensuring the safety of these guests. Owners may be liable for hazards they know and should know.
- Licensees: Family members, friends, and people hired to provide services on the property (e.g., plumbers) are licensees. Unlike invitees, licensees are invited to the property for the non-commercial benefit of the owner. Owners are required to maintain the premises and fix any hazards. However, they are only liable for dangers that they know.
- Trespassers: According to the Illinois Premises Liability Act, if a person trespasses on someone else’s property, the owner only has to refrain from willful and wanton conduct against them. In other words, the property owner is not liable for a trespasser’s safety. However, they are not allowed to deliberately set up hazardous items or areas on their property to avoid trespassers.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
A property owner owes a different duty of care to children who trespass on their property. If a property owner knows (or should know) that a dangerous condition on the premises may attract children, they must give adequate warning or enclose the hazardous object.
This particular duty of care to children is called the “attractive nuisance” doctrine, which applies in some jurisdictions. Attractive nuisances vary by state but generally include construction sites, abandoned vehicles, playground equipment, and pools.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
Our lawyers handle numerous premises liability claims with varying circumstances, such as:
- Swimming Pool Accidents: These cases typically occur when the swimming pool does not have a proper fence or barrier. Fencing in the pool is part of the property owner’s duty to protect others from injury, even if the injured party does not have permission to be there.
- Assault Due to Inadequate Building Security: Owners may be held responsible for foreseeable assaults or violent crimes due to a lack of security in places where people expect protection, such as a restaurant, bar, or apartment complex.
- Slip and Falls: These accidents commonly occur when the victim has not been warned against hazards (e.g., wet floors, icy grounds, uneven pavement, etc.). Aside from not giving a proper warning, a property owner may also be liable for not addressing the hazard within a reasonable amount of time.
- Elevator and Escalator Accidents: Elevators and escalators can be dangerous if not properly maintained. A business owner may be held liable for injuries if the accident was caused by a malfunctioning elevator or escalator.
- Dog Bites: A dog owner may be held liable if their pet bites someone on the property, even if the dog is chained up or restricted to the backyard.
- Amusement Park Accidents: These accidents occur when the property owner fails to maintain the safety of the amusement park or take proper preventive measures against accidents. Signing a waiver does not automatically exempt the amusement park owner from liability in an accident.
- Fires: A landowner who causes a fire due to negligence or lack of maintenance may be responsible for injuries and damage. If another person causes the fire, a property owner could be partially accountable for injured parties’ damages if they have failed to comply with fire safety standards.
Types of Premises Liability Injuries
A landowner’s negligence in removing hazardous conditions from their property could cause serious injuries, such as:
- Head and Neck Injuries: A person that falls on their head or is struck by an object may sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, contusion, or brain hemorrhage. In some slip and fall accidents, victims also suffer a neck injury, such as a neck fracture or sprain.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: When a person stretches or tears their ligaments, muscles, or tendons in a slip and fall accident, they may sustain soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains.
- Spinal Cord Trauma: Serious injury to the spinal column can lead to severe and life-altering complications, such as chronic pain, deep vein thrombosis, osteoporosis, and in worst cases–paralysis.
- Fractures: Many types of accidents can lead to broken bones, such as slips and falls. These injuries can range from mild hairline fractures to more severe breaks, such as open fractures wherein the bone breaks through the skin. Usually, these injuries occur in slip and fall accidents.
- Cuts, Bruises, Burns: These injuries have varying levels of severity depending on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, a mild fall may only result in bruises, while a fall involving impact with a sharp object can lead to deep lacerations.
What to Do If You Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property
Your actions following an accident on someone else’s property could affect the ease of recovering compensation later. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to do:
- Call the Authorities. Call an ambulance if your injuries need immediate medical attention. The police will also arrive to document the scene. Otherwise, seek help from the landowner or other people nearby.
- Document The Accident Scene. Take pictures of the area where your injury occurred and the object that caused it. Collect the property owner’s information, the manager on shift (if the accident happened in a business establishment), and any witnesses. Write down the exact time, date, and location of the incident.
- Ask For Copies of Reports. The manager must create an incident report if someone gets hurt in their business establishment. Similarly, the police will create a police report of the incident if they are called to the scene. Ask for copies of these reports for reference in your premises liability claim later.
- Seek Medical Attention. Go to the hospital and have a doctor check your injuries. Not only will a check-up ensure you have no underlying injuries, but it will also give you a medical record that you can use for your claim.
- Record the Effects of the Accident. Keep a written record of your ongoing pain, emotional trauma, financial losses, and other effects of the accident. Doing so will help you prove the extent of your damages when you file your claim.
- Call an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney. Numerous factors come into play in a personal injury claim. Therefore, you need a legal professional to help you navigate your case. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options, and refrain from speaking to the negligent party’s insurance company without legal representation.
Filing a Chicago Premises Liability Claim
Did you suffer an injury due to a property owner’s negligence? If so, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your damages under premises liability law.
A premises liability case has four essential elements:
- Duty of Care: You must show that the defendant owed a duty to protect you from harm or at least warn you of dangerous conditions present on the property.
- Breach of Duty: You must prove that the defendant breached the duty owed to you.
- Causation: You must show that the defendant’s breach of duty directly led to your accident.
- Damages: You must prove that the accident caused you to suffer actual harm and other losses.
Proving the negligence of a property owner is often challenging. Aside from showing beyond doubt that the accident happened, you will also have to show how it happened to establish the landowner’s liability.
Your Chicago premises liability attorney will help you overcome this burden of proof by collecting substantial evidence, such as:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Incident reports
- Police reports
- Surveillance footage
- Witness accounts
Additionally, your lawyer will gather documentation to show the extent of your damages, such as:
- Photos of injuries
- Medical records
- Psychological evaluations
- Photos of damaged property
Our Chicago premises liability attorneys will help you recover full and fair compensation for your losses, including:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for medical treatment, including hospitalization, medication, surgery, therapy, emergency transportation, and future medical bills.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages (loss of future earning potential, mobility aids, etc.) if you become temporarily or permanently disabled from the accident.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for wages, income, and benefits you’ve lost while recovering from your injuries or caring for an injured loved one.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for quality of life lost following the accident.
- Property Damage: Compensation for personal belongings lost or damaged in the accident.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for wrongful death-related damages if your loved one dies on someone else’s land or property, including funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, and grief.
- Punitive Damages: Payment on top of compensatory damages to punish a defendant for outrageous misconduct or to deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior.
Settlement values for premises liability claims vary from case to case. To ensure you obtain a fair payment, our premises liability lawyers will calculate the potential value of your settlement based on your case’s circumstances and damages during your free consultation.
Reaching a Settlement
Once you submit a claim against the defendant’s insurance company, an insurance adjuster may contact you to offer a settlement. Remember that most initial offers from insurers are usually lower than what the claims are worth. Therefore, our attorneys highly recommend against accepting insurance providers’ payments immediately.
Instead, let your Chicago premises liability attorney negotiate with the defendant’s insurer to ensure you secure maximum compensation.
Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit
Not all premises liability claims resolve through insurance settlements. You may have to file a lawsuit if:
- The defendant denies responsibility for your accident
- The insurance company refuses to make a better offer
- The insurance company denies your claim without a proper reason
- Negotiations have stalled
- The value of your claim exceeds the maximum payable amount of the defendant’s insurance policy
If you decide to take the negligent property owner to civil court, your case will go in front of a judge or jury, who will hear evidence from both sides to determine a verdict.
Our attorneys are highly experienced in premises liability litigation and are ready to defend your case in court, even though premises liability lawsuits are less common than insurance settlements.
To avoid litigation, an experienced premises liability lawyer could also help you pursue compensation through other dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration or mediation. These alternatives are often less expensive, formal, and time-consuming than litigation.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for premises liability cases in Illinois is two years from the underlying incident (735 Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 5/13-202).
What if You Are Partially at Fault for The Accident?
Illinois uses the modified comparative negligence rule as the standard for recovery of damages (735 Illinois Complied Statutes Section 5/2-1116). Under modified comparative negligence, an injured party may recover compensation only if their degree of fault for the incident is less than 50%.
The Role of Chicago Premises Liability Lawyers
To ensure the success of your case, hire an experienced Chicago premises liability attorney who can help you:
- Understand Illinois premises liability laws and your rights as an injury victim
- Determine how and why the accident occurred
- Establish the liability of negligent parties
- Determine the extent of your damages
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Estimate the potential value of your settlement
- File a personal injury claim against at-fault parties
- Negotiate your settlement to resolve your premises liability case
- File your case in civil court, if necessary
Schedule a Free Consultation With The Best Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys Today
Did you or a loved one get hurt because of a property owner’s negligence? In that case, the Chicago premises liability lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team can help ensure that the negligent party is held legally responsible for your injuries, trauma, lost income, and other losses.
Our experienced attorneys handle premises liability cases, helping victims that sustained life-threatening injuries and unimaginable financial burdens due to landowners’ obtain justice against careless landowners and business owners.
Schedule a free consultation with an experienced premises liability lawyer today. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our affiliate attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay legal fees unless we win your premises liability case.
- Justia – Comparative & Contributory Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
- Investopedia – Commercial General Liability
- Illinois General Assembly – 735 ILCS 5/2-1116