How are Building Codes Used in Slip and Fall Cases?
Building code violations are used to prove that the premises owner is responsible for your slip and fall injuries. Typically, you would use this to illustrate the owner was negligent and legally caused your harms. Different cities have different codes so it is important to understand what obligations apply in your setting.
What are the Chicago Building Codes?
The Chicago Building Codes are a set of rules that apply to the development and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings across the Chicagoland area. They also set forth violations, punishment, a hearings process, and the appeals process among other things. Other cities in Illinois have their own sets of rules for the same topic and it is important to consult your local government's prescriptions. In Chicago, some of the most common violations of the Buildings Code include the following:
- Defective wiring
- Defective plumbing
- Insufficient lighting
- Unsafe scaffolds or balconies
- Malfunctioning elevators
- Malfunctioning escalators
- Lack of guards or handrails
- Failure to fix unsafe conditions or keep the building in a proper condition
How can I use a Building Code Violation in my Slip and Fall Case?
Whether you slip and fall on a residential or commercial property, a building code violation can increase your chances in court. The catch is that the building code violation had to be related to how the injury happened. If it was the cause of your injury, then you could possibly argue that the defendant was negligent per se. Per se negligence means that the defendant was negligent by definition and that, if the plaintiff raises this contention, then the defendant must overcome the presumption or it will lose the case.
What Must You Establish to Argue Negligence per se?
However, before plaintiffs can argue negligence per se, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant violated the building code safety statute, the violation created the kind of harm that the law was concerned with, and the harm suffered by the plaintiff was foreseeable from the violation. For instance, if the defendant fails to follow the Chicago Building Codes and does install handrails in its commercial building, and you fall while ascending the staircase because of the lack of handrails, then you might be able to raise the presumption of negligence per se.
What are the Most Common Chicago Building Code Violations?
Some building code violations are more common than others. Here is a quick guide to how Chicago property owners skirt the rules the most:
- Decks and Balconies: Chicago has a lot of codes for decks, balconies, scaffolds, and porches because many incidents take place on them. The codes touch on their maximum height, distance from the building, and other pertinent details. Ignoring any of them will mean that the property owner has violated the particular Chicago building code.
- Guiderails: Staircases in Chicago buildings also have rules regarding their handrails. Specifically, if they are over three and a half feet tall, then the stairs need handrails on both sides. Additionally, the rails need to be approximately three feet from the floor. Failure to follow these guidelines will mean a building code violation.
- Smoke Detectors: Chicago has several rules regarding smoke detectors including their proximity to the ceiling and bedrooms. Failure to meet any of the rules results in a building code violation.
- Chimneys: The setup and specifications of chimneys in Chicago have tight requirements and are often not followed around the city.
- Grout: Construction of brick buildings in the city need to abide by strict rules regarding the usage of mortar, grout, and other substances. Failure to abide by these rules leaves many property owners outside the bounds of the building codes.
Do You Think You Have an Illinois Slip and Fall Claim?
As much as we can help you, we cannot do anything at all until you take the first step and stand up for yourself. If you even think you have an Illinois slip and fall claim, then you might. Normally, the fact patterns aren't that different: you're invited to another's property, you walk onto the premises, you accidentally slip and fall, and you injure yourself. Even if you think you were careless, chances are the owner contributed to your injuries and if that's so then you could have an Illinois slip and fall claim. At that point, it is critical that you contact a qualified attorney. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has served many people injured due to the negligence of property owners. We know the tasks ahead and can quickly determine not only if you have a claim but how to make it a successful claim. Also, we can set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation so that you can get to know us and we can get to know you. Our offices are open every hour of the day, every day of the year. You can speak to us by calling (888) 424-5757 or through the contact form below.
For additional information see the following pages:
- Do I need to demonstrate that the owner of a property had 'notice' in a slip and fall case?
- Do I Need A Lawyer For My Slip And Fall Case?
- Do Stores Have to Remove Snow And Ice From Their Property?
- If I'm Invited to a Home and I Slip and Fall, Then Can I Sue That Person?
- Is a Business Liable If They're Told About A Spill And Do Not Clean It Up And Then Someone Slips And Falls?
- What Must Businesses Do to Prevent Slips, Trips, And Falls?
- Who Can I Sue If I Slip On Public Property?
- Who Is Responsible For Slip And Fall Accidents?