Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
When a person is injured on someone else' s property, it involves an area of the law called premises liability.
While the principles of Chicago premises liability law are complicated, the general idea is that if you were injured through the negligence or mismanagement of the property owner, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, since the injury occurs on someone else’s property, there are a number of special rules to consider.
Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys Can Help You
You will need the help of an experienced Chicago premises liability attorney in order to file and prove your liability claim.
The property owner and their insurance company may either resist settling your personal injury case or may be trying to play hardball with their settlement offer.
Therefore, you will need a legal firm on your side that knows the legal process and how to help you get the most possible compensation for your injury.
Contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to learn more about your legal rights if you are injured on someone else’s property.
You can schedule a free consultation with an experienced premises liability attorney.
Proving a Chicago Premises Accident
In order to begin to understand how premises liability law can help you recover, you need to understand some of the legal concepts that are at work.
Here are a few things to consider:
- A property owner owes at least some duty to people who are legally on their property.
- Property owners must make reasonable efforts to provide for a safe environment for any visitors.
- People do not have an unlimited right to enter someone else’s property and file lawsuits against the owner.
- Your actions as the injured party may also matter in deciding whether the property owner is liable and how much of your injuries they must pay for.
The basics are that if you are injured on someone else' s property, you may have a valid case against the property owners if that person or company did not act with the proper level of care.
If you were injured on public property, you may even be able to file a claim against the city or county that was responsible for maintaining or overseeing the property.
Given this expansive area of the law, you may wish to discuss your claim with a Chicago premises liability lawyer before you consider filing a claim with the property owners where your accident occurred.
Damages in Chicago, Illinois Premises Cases
Like other types of personal injury cases, a claim against a negligent property owner can be pursued by an injured person to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include compensation for medical expenses, lost income and any out of pocket expenses that you have incurred as a result of your accident.
Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement related to your injuries. Illinois courts have repeatedly struck down attempts to cap or limit non-economic damages.
In a situation where your loved one died in an accident on someone else's property, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for the loss of emotional and economic support.
Common Premises Liability AccidentsPremises Liability cases can be brought in any one of a number of circumstances.
Here are some common types of plaintiffs in cases involving injuries on the property of another person or business.
- Invited social guests - If you were an invited guest to someone’s home or property, you may be able to sue if you slipped on the sidewalk or were injured inside the house in fall accidents or any other type of injury.
- Store or business customers - Customers shopping at a store or other business invitees may also be able to sue the business if they were injured on premises.
- Pedestrians - People walking on city streets may have a claim if they trip on an uneven part of the sidewalk.
- Tenants- People who rent may sue their landlords for the condition of their residence or any injury that they suffered such as being attacked on the property.
These are just some examples. The truth is that premises law is a very broad area and there are a wide variety of injuries and claims.
Therefore, if you think you may have a potential injury claim against property owners, we encourage you to contact our legal firm for a free consultation with a top-rated Chicago premises liability lawyer.
Proving Negligence Against Property Owners
Just because the property owner has possession of land or a building does not make them automatically liable if you are injured on their property.
Something more is necessary for them to need to pay damages. Even if you fall on someone else’s property, it does not mean that the owner has done something wrong.
Where you would be able to recover damages was if the landowner was negligent and it resulted in your serious injuries. Someone’s negligence depends on the particular situation.
The Duty Owed By the Property Owner
The legal duty that the negligent property owner owed depends on your status on the property.
There are three different types of people who are present on someone else’s property, each with their own level of care.
The cases often involve:
Invitees - This is when someone gives either an explicit or an implied invitation for someone else to come onto the property. The most common example is a business owner who holds the store open for shoppers. It could also be a homeowner too. Here is where the property owner owes the highest duty to others. Here, the owner must keep the property reasonably safe and protect the invitee from injury. In other words, they must exercise reasonable care. This is the most common type of property liability case.
Licensees - These are people who are allowed to go onto property for their own purposes and gratification. This is more likely to be a friend who is invited for dinner or to play video games. There is a lower standard than there would be for an invitee. Here, the property owner must only warn the licensee about known dangerous conditions.
Trespassers - Landowners owe very few duties to trespassers. For undiscovered trespassers, all they need to do is to avoid hurting them through willful misconduct. If the landowners knows that there are trespassers, the owner must make the property conditions safe or give the trespasser warning of the dangerous conditions.
'Foreseeability' in Chicago Premises Liability Cases
The major thing that needs to be necessary for recovery in a premises liability case is that your injury needs to be foreseeable.
If the accident that hurt you would have been completely unanticipated by a reasonable person, the owner may not be held liable.
What makes Chicago premises liability cases seem much more complicated is that each case on its own is very fact-intensive.
For example, if you fell down a flight of stairs in an apartment building due to poor lighting and wish to pursue a claim against the landlord for your injuries, you will need to establish that the landlord had notice of the dangerous condition within a reasonable amount of time to have corrected the condition.
In other words if there was no notice and the condition was not foreseeable, you will not have a very strong claim.
Common Types of Chicago, IL Premises Liability Claims
Of course, the most common premises liability claim that people think about is the slip-and-fall. That is one of the most frequently filed civil claims.
However, there is much more to premises liability. The defendant can be held legally responsible for a wide variety of harms that befall you on their property.
Each Chicago premises liability attorney in our firm has experience with the following types of claims and lawsuits.
Lawsuits Arising from Inadequate Maintenance - Beyond the common slip-and-fall cases, there are many things that can go wrong on private property. One thing is that you can be struck by an object that falls from a room or tree. Faulty maintenance can also extend to something like an escalator which, if it malfunctions, you could be entitled to compensation. Especially when there are invitees, an owner has an obligation to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition.
Inadequate or Negligent Security- When one is a landlord or a business owner, they must provide adequate security for residents and customers. They must protect against reasonably foreseeable actions against others. In other words, the owner must exercise ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches safe. This means that if you are attacked in a criminal act on someone else’s property, the owner could be responsible.
Dog Bites - You may be able to recover if you are attacked by a dog on someone else’s property. If the dog is known to be dangerous, the owner must take steps to keep the dog from harming others. This duty is even higher if the animal is even more dangerous than a common dog.
These are just some types of this type of liability claim. You have the ability to file a lawsuit for practically any injury suffered on the property of someone else.
What Must Be Proven in Slip and Fall Accidents
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers figured that we would spend some time discussing the trip-and-fall claim since it is the most common premises liability action.
It can arise if you trip on a sidewalk or slip on a spill walking down the aisle in a grocery store.
There are generally three things that you must prove in order to be successful in a trip-and-fall case:
- The defendant knew or should have known about the hazard or danger.
- Even though you were exercising ordinary care, you did not know about the danger
- The defendant had control over the dangerous condition.
This does not mean that the defendant is liable for every single injury that occurs.
For example, if there is an open and obvious hazard, the court says that the plaintiff should have known about it. However, it is also reasonable to expect that people may get distracted in certain parts of a store or private property.
Your Own Actions (or Comparative Fault) Can Reduce the Value of Your Premises Claim
Not every injury will result in financial compensation. In other words, the property owner does not act as an insurance company for every injury that occurs on their property.
This is basically the same thing as contributory negligence in a car accident.
For example, if you were running down the aisles of a supermarket and fall injuring your back, you may not be able to recover or a fall injury. The damages may be as much your fault as it was the owner’s.
Another example would be if you dove into a shallow swimming pool where there were warnings about shallow water.
In these examples, there is not much that the owner could have done to prevent your injuries.
The defendant may try to argue that you were responsible for your own injuries.
In Illinois and other states that use a comparative-negligence based system, you can recover for your injuries as long as you were not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
Consequently, you may wish to consult with an experienced liability lawyer to discuss the legalities that apply to your situation and anticipate defenses that may be raised by property owners in claim.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property
Here are some steps to take if you were injured in an accident on someone else’s property:
- Make sure to get documentation and evidence of what the unsafe conditions looked like at the time of the accident. We understand that it may be difficult to take pictures when you are lying on the ground injured, but you should try your best to line up witnesses and get pictures as close to the time of the accident as possible.
- You should get medical attention immediately after the accident. Do not refuse medical attention if it is offered.
- If you are not treated at the scene, go to a doctor immediately for help. Obtain medical documentation of your injuries and gather all the evidence.
- Contact a Chicago premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. It is best to retain an attorney before you even file a claim or speak to the insurance company.
- Make sure to document all of your possible damages that you want to receive, including lost wages and payment for medical bills. You can even qualify for payment for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Illinois Premises Liability Questions
Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions about premises liability.
What Is a Premises Liability Claim?
A claim of this type is when you are seeking to hold someone liable for an injury that you suffered while on their property. Property owners can face legal consequences if they do not take adequate care to keep visitors safe and protect them from injury while they are on the property.
While the owner is not automatically responsible for everything that happens on their property, they may be liable if they were negligent.
Who should a Chicago premises liability lawsuit be made against?
Generally, it is the owner of the property who is held legally responsible or premises liability claims.
However, liability can also extend to residents of buildings who are not owners.
For example, if a business rents their store from someone else, they can be responsible for injuries if the dangerous condition on the property is their fault.
Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence?
Premises liability operates using some same principles as negligence law, but it is not entirely the same. Both factor in that you may owe a duty of care to others. Not all claims are the result of negligence, but many of them do involve some claim of negligence.
For example, you can be liable in a fall accident on your property if you were negligent.
Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys
Having a personal injury attorney on your side can make the liability claims process easier. After you are injured, you have a lot on your plate, including medical care and worry about your health and finances.
This is where our office can help you. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experienced personal injury lawyers who have helped clients negotiate with insurance companies and file lawsuits for financial compensation throughout Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County and all of Illinois.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone in your family is a victim of wrongful death, call our firm's offices at our toll-free number or fill out a contact form to set up your free consultation.
You can even call us to talk to a real person for real-time assistance or to schedule a free consultation.
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