Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
When one person is injured on the property of another, it involves an area of the law called premises liability. While the principles of 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.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, our Chicago premises liability lawyer are committed to securing the most favorable settlement for you for your injuries. Our law firm will do what it takes to hold responsible property owners accountable for your injuries or death of a loved one.
Premises Liability Attorneys in Chicago Can Help You Recover Compensation for Your Injuries
You will need the help of an experienced attorney in order to file and prove your premises 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 law 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 to learn more about your legal rights if you are injured on someone else's property.
In order to begin to understand how Illinois' 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 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 any property other than your own, you may have a valid case against the owner 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 governmental entity such as a city or county that was responsible for maintaining or overseeing the property.
Common Plaintiffs in Illinois Premises Liability Accidents
Premises Liability cases can be brought in any one of a number of circumstances. Here are some common types of plaintiffs in these civil lawsuits.
- 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 apartments may sue their landlords for the condition of their residence or any injury that they suffered such as being attacked on the property or falling down poorly maintained stairs.
These are just some examples. The truth is that premises liability is a very broad area of the law and there are a wide variety of injuries and claims. Regardless of where you incident occurred, our attorneys will travel to your location as we are indeed lawyers who are 'near to you'
The Property Owner's Negligence Liability
Just because the 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 Under Illinois Law
The 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. They are as follows:
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 know that there are trespassers, the owner must make the property conditions safe or give the trespasser warning of the dangerous conditions.
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 premises liability cases seem much more complicated is that each case on its own is very fact-intensive. There are many variables that can be at play in what could seem to be a minor slip-and-fall case. For example, these are some questions that a court may wrestle with in your premises liability case.
Common Types of 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. They can be negligent in a variety of different ways.
Here are some of the frequent types of premises liability lawsuits that are filed
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 or elevator 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 premises liability claim. You have the ability to file a lawsuit for practically any injury suffered on the property of someone else.
The Slip-and-Fall Case and What Must be Proven
We figured that we would spend some time discussing the slip-and-fall case 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 slip-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 are Important in Your Civil Lawsuit
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, you may not be able to recover or a slip-and-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. 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.
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:
- Do the best you can 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. Obtain medical documentation of your injuries and gather all the evidence.
- Contact a personal injury attorney 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 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 premises liability claim is when you are seeking to hold someone liable for an injury that you suffered while on their property. Property owners can face legal liability 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 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 premises liability claims are the result of negligence, but many of them do involve some claim of negligence. For example, you can be liable in a slip-and-all on your property if you were negligent.
What are the Five Elements of Negligence?
The defendant must owe someone a duty of care, have breached that duty by acting unreasonably, there must be cause, you must have been injured and the defendant was the cause of your injury.
How Long do I Have to Bring a Claim?
Under Illinois law, personal injury and wrongful death cases must be brought within two years of the incident. There are exceptions to this rule, that may extend or shorten the time period (referred to as the statute of limitations) for bringing a case, so you should speak with a lawyer who has experience in this area of the law as soon as feasible.
Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys
Having a personal injury attorney on your side can make the premises 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 we can help you at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. We are experienced personal injury attorneys 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 has suffered wrongful death, call our law 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.
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