Illinois Premises Liability Accident FAQ's
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with injuries suffered in accidents occurring on another's property. This area of the law is commonly referred to as ‘premises liability’. Our law firm has collected a series of premises liability accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving property liability accidents. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
The court system relies on the legal theory of premises liability when a property owner is responsible for an injury or accident that occurs on their property. This legal concept ensures that those hurt on another's premises will be held financially accountable. These individuals and entities can include property owners, property managers, landlords, lessees, or anyone in charge of maintaining, managing or operating the premises.
However, finding fault can be complicated. Because of that, many injured victims hire the skills of a reputable personal injury attorney who specializes in accidents and events occurring on another's property. The premises liability attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888-424-5757) have compiled a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked questions below to assist injured victims in obtaining compensation and justice and posted the answers below.
What is an Illinois Premises Liability Case?
Premises liability cases arise when someone sues for personal injuries sustained due to a dangerous, unsafe, or defective condition on another's property. The law encompassing premises liability involves various forms of injuries and accidents that could include slip and fall events, stairway accidents, stadium event injuries, deck and porch collapses, swimming pool accidents including drowning, and accidents that occur at schools and fitness centers and on escalators and elevators. However, victims injured through violent crime on the property do not own typically have a case for compensation based on premises liability law. Premises liability cases are founded on Illinois statute 740 IL CS 130 (The Premises Liability Act) and claim that an occupier or owner of a property has a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe by correcting defects and are legally responsible for warning visitors about the problem or correct the defect.
Do I Have an Illinois Premises Liability Claim?
Generally, plaintiffs can bring premises liability cases in Illinois if they were injured on another's property. You must show that you were on another's property while visiting or by a lawful invitation or you were a business customer. Also, during your time on the property, you must have experienced injuries or damages caused by an accident or incident. If these two conditions are true, then you might have the right to obtain monetary recovery through a premises liability claim. Your attorney will need to show the court that the property occupier or owner had a wanton, willful disregard for repairing the problem or failed to notify visitors that the defect existed. This proof can make a convincing case to recover financial compensation. However, Illinois law does not state that premises owners must do everything to protect or warn guests. Quite to the contrary, the law only imposes a duty of "reasonable care" to prevent against these kind of accidents as you can see from the relevant statute:
"The duty owed to such entrants is that of reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them." 740 ILCS 130/2.
What Don't Premises Owners Have to Warn Guests About in Illinois?
Premises owners do not have to protect guests from everything kind of harm in Illinois. No, they must only take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors on their property. The law excludes them from having to do warn or disclose things that are already known, open and obvious, or otherwise disclosed. Illinois law removes legal responsibility from similar circumstances in 740 ILCS 130/2:
"The duty of reasonable care under the circumstances which an owner or occupier of land owes to such entrants does not include any of the following: a duty to warn of or otherwise take reasonable steps to protect such entrants from conditions on the premises that are known to the entrant, are open and obvious, or can reasonably be expected to be discovered by the entrant; a duty to warn of latent defects or dangers or defects or dangers unknown to the owner or occupier of the premises; a duty to warn such entrants of any dangers resulting from misuse by the entrants of the premises or anything affixed to or located on the premises; or a duty to protect such entrants from their own misuse of the premises or anything affixed to or located on the premises."
What do You Charge to Review My Case?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our premises liability attorneys all offer all potential clients a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the merits of their case. Our legal team will evaluate the evidence and provide various legal options on how to proceed.
What Monetary Retainer is Required to Hire Your Law Firm?
Our attorneys accept every personal injury case, wrongful death lawsuit, and premises liability compensation claim through contingency fee agreements. These arrangements postpone the payment of all legal work until after we have successfully resolved your case. Also, our law office provides every client a "No Win/No-Fee" Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to win your case at trial or negotiate an acceptable out of court settlement, you owe us nothing.
What Happens if the Property Owner Claims That I was Trespassing in Illinois?
If the property owner, manager or lessee can prove you were trespassing when you suffered your injury or damages, you might not be successful in resolving a compensation claim. However, if the supposed trespasser is a young child, those rules typically do not apply. Yet, Illinois law still requires property owners to refrain from willful and wanton conduct regarding known trespassers as spelled out in 740 ILCS 130/3:
"An owner or occupier of land owes no duty of care to an adult trespasser other than to refrain from willful and wanton conduct that would endanger the safety of a known trespasser on the property from a condition of the property or an activity conducted by the owner or occupier on the property."
What does this mean? Typically, it means that Illinois landowners cannot lay traps, deceive people, or otherwise deliberately attempt to injure or otherwise maim people even if they are trespassing. The law gives property owners broad rights when it comes to their premises, but those rights are not unlimited. Even trespassers enjoy the right to be free from intentional efforts to hurt them.
Should I File an Accident Report Where the Chicago Incident Occurred?
Yes, if you are injured in an accident on someone else's property in the Chicagoland area, try to file an accident report. This will memorialize relevant details of the event and help should you later decide to file a cause of action in Illinois court. If the incident occurred on public property or government-owned property, it is crucial to fill out an accident/incident report and have it signed by a store employee, like a manager. If the establishment keeps the record, be sure to get a copy to get to your lawyer.
What Evidence Should I Obtain From the Illinois Premises Accident?
After a premises accident in Illinois, victims should try to obtain as much information as possible related to the parties involved, circumstances of the incident (including weather), and injuries sustained.
If there were any witnesses to the accident or event who saw what happened, be sure and obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone who can provide testimony. These witnesses might include store manager, store employees, customers, bystanders, passersby and others. Every eyewitness account that supports your case will strengthen your claim for compensation.
Additionally, consider taking photographs of the hazard that initiated the event that led to your damages and injuries. A picture can preserve the evidence and strengthen your premises liability negligence case. Photographic evidence is important because the property owner or manager will likely fix the hazard as quickly as possible.
What Happens if I Don't Realize Have Been Injured Immediately After the Chicago Property Accident?
You can still seek recovery, but it will be harder. You should act quickly after a Chicago premises accident to investigate the incident, learn the nature of your injuries, and identify who was responsible.
Many individuals who suffer injuries from an accident occurring on another's property are not immediately aware that they were harmed. In some cases, the injuries associated with the accident or event including serious back problems, broken bones, brain concussion or other serious harm are not obvious until hours, days or weeks after the damage occurs.
Speaking to an attorney can be beneficial to resolving a financial compensation claim. Your lawyer can help secure evidence by obtaining video recordings of the event captured by store cameras or in public area or talk to eyewitnesses before they forget what happened. Your lawyer will build your case on solid evidence even if its obtained much later after the incident or event occurred.
What is the Best Way to Handle an Illinois Premises Liability Case?
The best way to handle an Illinois premises liability case is to work closely with a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer. Never provide a statement to anyone concerning the event that caused your injuries on another's property, including the insurance company or claims adjuster, before speaking to your attorney. You will be better able to prove your case with legal representation through the advice of your attorney who is interested in protecting your rights much more than a claims adjuster or store representative wanting to make the problem go away quickly at your expense.
What do I Need to Prove in Court to Win an Illinois Premises Liability Case?
To succeed on a premises liability case in Illinois, a plaintiff must plead and prove the following in court:
- The defect existed on the property
- The injuries you endured are linked directly to the defect
- You are filing the claim for compensation against the owner or occupier of the property
- The defendants in the case knew or should have known that the default existed and still failed to warn you or fix the problem.
740 ILCS 130. However, even if you prove the four elements listed above, the property occupier or owner might still not be legally responsible for damages if one or more conditions below can be proven. These conditions include:
- You knew the defect or hazard existed before the accident occurred
- The problem was obvious to anyone taking notice of their surroundings
- The property occupier or owner can prove they were unaware of the defect and that any other reasonable individual would not have known the defect existed
- The owner or occupier can prove that you misused the premises and where the cause of the problem or defect.
For more information, please see 740 ILCS 130/2.
What Compensation Could I Receive in a Chicago Premises Liability Claim?
Compensation for Chicago premises liability claims typically relates to any physical injuries, emotional trauma, disability, disfigurement, lost wages, and medical bills sustained but the actual recovery will depend on the damage sustained.
If your attorney can successfully resolve your premises liability claim you can expect to obtain financial compensation to pay for your current, past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, disfigurement, disability, loss of consortium, loss of normal life, pain, suffering, mental anxiety and other non-tangible damages.
Who Pays the Compensation in an Illinois Premises Liability Case?
Normally, the property owner or their insurance company will provide compensation or any reimbursement for costs and damages that arise from an accident. Usually, your attorney will begin the compensation process by submitting a claim to the property owner or occupier's insurance carrier. Your lawyer working on your behalf will construct a strong legal argument for monetary recovery and support the claim using solid evidence that proves your case. Nearly all cases are settled through a negotiated out of court settlement, meaning you will never need to file a lawsuit against the defendants or present your case at trial. However, there are cases where the insurance carrier offers a low settlement amount, necessitating the need to build a case for trial and file a lawsuit.
Should You Cash the Insurance Company's Compensation Check?
No, you should generally not immediately cash a check from an insurance company after an accident on another's property. To ensure that you are receiving an appropriate amount of financial compensation to resolve your premises liability case, it is essential to consult with a reputable personal injury attorney before cashing the check or signing documents. If the insurance carrier convinces you to sign a waiver, settlement agreement or release, you are likely signing away your rights to seek additional funds if needed in the future.
Cashing the check usually means you agree that the funds they provide have settled your claim fully and finally. An attorney working on your behalf can evaluate the merits of your case and provide legal options to resolve your claim using their comprehensive negotiation skills. Typically, going it alone without an attorney results in insufficient monetary compensation to recover all your damages.
What if My Injuries Occurred at My Neighbor's or Friend's Home?
You might feel reluctant in filing a claim for compensation against your friend or neighbor if the accident that harmed you or your child occurred at their home, but you still can bring a case in a way that minimizes any controversy or animus. However, the property owner or occupier's insurance company normally pays for damages, not your neighbor or friend. An attorney working on your behalf can ensure that the case for compensation involves only the insurance company and not an individual you consider a friend or neighbor and want to protect.
What do I do if My Child was Hurt at School or on Campus in Illinois?
You should consult with an experienced Illinois premises lawyer because you may be able to file a claim for relief. Students, visitors, and faculty members can be victims of an accident or violent crime occurring on campus or at school. An attorney working on your behalf can file a claim for compensation building the case on the university or school's failure to elicit reasonable care to ensure that every victim was protected. However, filing a lawsuit or compensation claim against a private institution is significantly different than building a case against a public school or university. Your lawyer will know how to build the case against a government agency or private company to make sure you are compensated fully.
What if My Slip and Fall Injury Occurred by Tripping on a Broken Chicago Sidewalk?
Even though governmental entities are considered immune to lawsuits, a reputable personal injury attorney who specializes in premises liability cases might be able to assist you in obtaining financial compensation for your damages from the city.
Can I Hire Your Law Firm to Handle My Case?
If you were harmed or your loved one was killed while on someone else's premises, you are likely entitled to file a compensation case in a court of law. If you are ready to take the first legal step following your injuries from a premises liability accident, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers law offices today at (888) 424-5757. Speak with our law firm to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation case consultation. Our attorneys will review your case and provide numerous legal options to resolve your compensation claim successfully. Our law firm will handle every aspect of your case to its successful conclusion.
To ease your financial burden, we accept all wrongful death lawsuits, personal injury cases, and premises liability compensation claims through contingency arrangements. These agreements postpone your payment of all legal services until after we have successfully resolved your case by winning your lawsuit at trial or negotiating an acceptable out of court settlement on your behalf. If you have nothing to lose. With our "No Win/No-Fee" Guarantee, you pay our legal fees only if we can obtain the financial compensation your family deserves. All information you share with our law offices remain confidential.