Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys
In our society, we rely on our fellow citizens to act reasonably in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. When someone fails to do so, however, there is a very real danger of serious accidents and life-shattering injuries. Over 130,000 people visit the emergency department annually. How many of those visits could have been prevented with a little care on the part of property owners?
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by an unsafe condition on another person's property, the owner or manager of that property may be held liable. If it can be established that the property owner's negligence is what caused your accident, you have the grounds to file a premises liability claim or lawsuit.
A Chicago premises liability lawyer will be able to assess your case and advise you of your legal rights to seek monetary damages. Compensation may be pursued to cover medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, disfigurement, pain, suffering and other damages, depending upon the facts of your case.
Property Owners’ Duty of Care
Property owners have a responsibility to protect the safety of tenants, residents, visitors, and invited guests. They are expected to keep their premises well-maintained and free from hazards. When a property owner is negligent in the duty of care, an unsafe or defective condition can easily lead to serious injury or death.
Not every accident on another person's property can be attributed to owner negligence. Your ability to receive damages will depend on whether you can prove:
- The owner knew or should have reasonably known the premises were unsafe;
- The owner or manager of the property failed to keep it adequately maintained;
- Steps were not taken to remedy the situation;
- The property owner or manager failed to warn visitors or guests of potential dangers.
Ultimately, it comes down to if the property owner could have prevented your injuries with a little "reasonable care." The specifics and details of your situation will dictate how strong a case you have, so speak to an attorney today.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Any type of injury on another person's property can be classified as a premises liability case. Some of the more common types of premises liability accidents involve:
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Dog bites or attacks
- Swimming pool drowning
- Injuries due to insufficient lighting
- Assault due to insufficient security
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Defective sidewalks or stairways
- Electrocution accidents
- Exposure to toxic substances
Trespassing and Premises Liability
It's easy to assume that someone trespassing on private property is liable for his or her own safety. But that’s not always the case. There are situations in which the landowner might be liable, notably with known trespassers and children.
- Known trespassers are exactly what they sound like: people who wander onto a property owner’s land without permission, but the owner is fully aware that they are there. Often clues like empty beverages and other litter are enough to notify an owner that he has trespassers. Once he knows, he must take steps to fix any hazards on the property or post warnings to keep anyone from being harmed. Alternately, the owner can try to tighten his security and keep people away.
- Children don’t understand "trespassing" the way adults do and are not held to the same standards. Instead, the onus falls upon the property owner to keep them out. Children might be tempted to hang out or play around a construction site or in a business that is closed for remodeling. While they should not trespass, there must be proper security to ensure they are unable to easily access such locations.
What Is an "Attractive Nuisance"?
Landowners owe a special duty of care to children, and the common-law concept of “attractive nuisance” holds that certain features on a property (an oft-used example is a swimming pool) draw children in, whether or not they are legally permitted to be there. Therefore, property owners with attractive nuisances are held liable if a curious child is able to wander in and get hurt.
In Illinois, the Private Swimming Pool Enclosure Act requires that "new outdoor swimming pools on private residential property be enclosed by a fence, wall, or other effective permanent barrier of 42 inches or greater height." In addition, it gives local governments and HOAs permission to make the regulations even stricter (but not any less stringent).
Who Is Most at Risk for Injuries?
Children are among those most at risk of injury on other people’s property. Swimming pool accidents and dog bites usually affect children disproportionately. Kids fail to recognize many dangers in the world, which is why we expect adults to safeguard them as much as possible.
The elderly are at much greater risk of damaging falls, especially those suffering from dementia or similar cognitive disorders. They may not realize they are going into a dangerous situation, which is why nursing homes and similar facilities must have adequate security to keep residents from wandering into traffic or toward a dangerous construction site.
However, anyone could be the victim of negligence. Unintentional falls killed almost 32,000 people in the U.S. in 2013. And in fact, the greatest percentage of emergency room visits that year were by people aged 25–44 years. These accidents happen everywhere, all the time, and unfortunately, many of them are preventable.
Why You Need a Skilled Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
Proving negligence is not always a simple task. If you believe the injuries you sustained on public, private, commercial, or government property were the result of negligence, it is critical that you get qualified legal representation to assist you.
The skilled Chicago personal injury lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have years of experience and understand what it takes to prove liability. We know what questions to ask, and how to obtain the evidence necessary to present to prove your claim. We will work diligently to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. No fees are ever charged unless we help you win.