Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers BBB Business Review

Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer

Property owners are legally required to maintain the safety and security of their property. Failure to do so--and inadvertently causing injury to a visitor--leads to premises liability, an area of tort law that holds property owners responsible for victims' damages.

If you or a loved one were injured on someone else's property, you could pursue financial compensation for your damages. Filing a personal injury lawsuit could compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses you incur due to your injury.

The Chicago premises liability attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you determine your legal options and file a claim against the negligent property owner.

Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.

Chicago premises liability attorney

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is an area of personal injury law that holds a property owner accountable for injuries caused by unsafe conditions on their land.

In all US states, every property owner must reasonably maintain a safe and secure environment for visitors.

premises liability claim

Common Premises Liability Cases

There is a wide variety of premises liability accidents. Based on our personal injury attorneys' experience, the following occur most frequently:

Slip and Fall Accidents

slip-and-fall accident occurs when someone falls or trips on someone else's property. It can happen anywhere, including stores, restaurants, hotels, residences, and public areas.

The following are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:

  • Wet or slippery floors, lack of 'wet floor signs,' spilled liquids
  • Cracked or uneven pavement
  • Broken staircases, lack of safety handrails
  • Damaged carpeting, rugs curling up at the ends
  • Tripping hazards, e.g., loose electrical wiring, debris
  • Unmarked ledges
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Snowy or icy surfaces

Animal Attacks

Dog bites and other animal attacks are common causes of liability claims. Pet owners are responsible for their pets' actions. If an animal injures someone, the owner is responsible for the victim's injuries as long as:

  • The injury victim did not provoke the animal in any way
  • The victim was acting peaceably
  • The attack occurred in a place where the victim was legally allowed to be (i.e., the victim was not trespassing)
file a personal injury claim with a Chicago premises liability attorney

Swimming Pool Accidents

There are no federal pool fencing laws in the US, but some states require fencing around all in-ground pools, regardless of depth. A fence will help prevent people from falling into the pool and drowning, especially children.

Escalator and Elevator Accidents

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 17,000 people are injured, and 30 are killed in elevator and escalator incidents yearly. Most of the accidents are caused by:

  • Improper or irregular maintenance
  • Lack of routine safety inspections
  • Failing to shut down elevator access when needed
  • Improper installation and leveling

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos comprises six mineral fibers known for their strength and fire- and chemical resistance. Multiple sectors used it in many industrial and commercial applications until 1989, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the majority of asbestos products.

Some houses, buildings, and businesses today still contain asbestos. It is usually not harmful unless the fibers are released into the air.

Asbestos can increase the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung scarring, and other critical conditions when inhaled.

Owners in most states are expected to protect visitors from asbestos exposure. They may be liable if they:

  • Know about the presence of asbestos on their property
  • Fail to address the hazard or warn others about the risk
  • Deliberately conceal the asbestos hazard

Defective Conditions

A property owner must address all defective conditions they know about or warn visitors of the risks. Dangerous or faulty conditions include:

  • Weak or unsupported ceilings
  • Missing or damaged stairs
  • Collapsed floors
  • Loose shelving or overhead materials
  • Raised tree roots
  • Dangerous electrical fixtures, e.g., outlets
  • Faulty appliances
  • Poorly maintained playground equipment

Fire Safety Violations

Private properties and commercial buildings must adhere to fire safety rules. Failure to do so could lead to serious injury and death if a fire breaks out within the premises. Common violations include:

  • Blocked exit doors
  • Faulty emergency exit lighting
  • Faulty or untested fire alarms and smoke detectors
  • Lack of fire extinguishers
  • Malfunctioning sprinkler systems
  • Blocked outdoor fire department valves and connections
  • Improper use of extension cords
  • Hanging items off sprinkler systems and piping
  • Not keeping fire inspection records
  • Leaving fire doors propped open
  • Lack of escape route signage

Negligent or Inadequate Security

Property owners must provide reasonable or prudent security for guests and customers. Under liability laws, inadequate security is the lack of or nonexistent security measures to protect visitors or dwellers from harm caused by another person on the premises.

An owner may be liable for harm caused by inadequate security if they:

  • Fail to train security personnel properly
  • Do not conduct background checks on security employees
  • Fail to properly maintain security equipment, e.g., surveillance cameras, locks
  • Leave access doors unlocked, creating an unsafe condition
  • Fail to refrain from willful and wanton conduct against trespassers
  • Conduct very hazardous activities, like launching fireworks and pyrotechnic (absolute liability)
  • Fail to employ sufficient security staff
  • Fail to keep adequate security records

Common Injuries in Premises Liability Cases

A property owner's negligence can lead to serious injuries, such as:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI is caused by a sudden and significant impact on the head. TBIs include concussions, contusions, hemorrhages, skull fractures, and penetrating injuries. These injuries usually occur in slip-and-fall incidents wherein victims suffer a blow to the head. They can be fatal in some cases, especially when a victim falls from a significant height.
  • Fractures: Broken bones occur in many personal injury cases and can be caused by just about any dangerous condition on a property. Fractures range from mild to severe but often leave victims unable to live normally for an extended period. The most severe breaks are compound fractures, wherein the bone sticks out of the skin.
  • Sprains and Strains: Soft tissue injuries typically occur when someone falls or trips, causing their ligaments, tendons, or muscles to stretch or tear. While most sprains and strains are not severe, they can still lead to significant losses, such as missed workdays.
  • Burn Injuries: Burns can stem from chemicals, electric shock, and fires. These serious injuries range from mild to severe, with moderate to severe cases requiring immediate medical treatment.
  • Infections: Dog bites, pest infestations, and untreated mold can lead to infections.
  • Cancer and Other Health Conditions: Asbestos exposure can increase the risk of asbestosis (chronic lung disease), lung cancer, and mesothelioma (a type of cancer usually linked to asbestos exposure).
  • Drowning or Asphyxiation: Swimming pool accidents typically involve drowning. People who survive drowning may experience mild to severe brain or organ damage due to hypoxic brain injury (brain damage caused by lack of oxygen).
  • Wrongful Death: Any dangerous condition can lead to accidental death, whether instantaneous or gradual. Victims that survive severe accidents may succumb to their injuries later on.

Property Owners Have Different Levels of Responsibility

The rules on who may recover damages and under what conditions vary from state to state. Some states focus on the injured party's status at the time of the incident:

  • Invitee: An invitee is someone the property owner invites for commercial or professional purposes, e.g., a customer. An invitee's presence is mutually beneficial. Every property owner owes the highest care to invitees; they could be liable if an invitee is injured by a dangerous condition they know or should have known.
  • Licensee: A licensee is someone on the property with the owner's permission. Unlike invitees, they are on the premises for their own benefit, such as party guests. The property owner must address known hazards or warn the licensee of them.
  • Trespasser: A trespasser enters another person's property without the owner's consent. Property owners do not owe any duty of care to trespassers and are not liable for their injuries. However, owners are not allowed to injure trespassers on purpose.

Children on the Property

The attractive nuisance doctrine states that a property owner may be liable for injuries to children trespassing if the injury was caused by something attractive to children. Under premises liability law, attractive nuisances include a wide variety of elements, such as pools, construction sites, gravel piles, old appliances, etc.

The doctrine applies to many types of premises liability laws in some jurisdictions. Private and commercial property owners must exercise reasonable care to secure things that could potentially attract children.

What to Do If You Are Injured on Another's Property

Your actions right after an incident on someone's property could determine the validity and success of your liability claim. Our Chicago premises liability attorneys recommend the following steps:

  1. Call 911. Contact emergency services if you need immediate medical attention or if others are in danger, e.g., a fire on the property.
  2. Seek First Aid. Unless you need to go to the hospital immediately, tend to your injuries on the property or at home. If you have sustained a head injury, go to the emergency room immediately, even if you feel fine.
  3. Document the Scene. Take pictures of the accident scene, precisely the dangerous condition or element that caused your accident, such as a raised tree root, a wet floor, etc.
  4. Go to the Hospital. Seek treatment from a medical professional, even if you feel uninjured.
  5. Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer. Pursuing compensation against a negligent property owner is not always easy without legal help. Find an experienced Chicago premises liability lawyer to handle your case.

How to File an Illinois Premises Liability Case

If a property owner fails to address their unsafe premises and causes injury to an invitee or licensee, they could be held liable in a liability claim.

The Burden of Proof for a Premises Liability Case

To file a valid premises liability claim, you must prove the following are true:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to you. The property owner must take reasonable care to protect your safety if you are an invitee or licensee.
  • The defendant breached this duty of care. A 'breach' can be a negligent act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to others, e.g., failing to address a hazardous condition within a reasonable amount of time.
  • You suffered a significant injury. You must suffer actual harm to file an injury case. An 'injury' can be physical, emotional, mental, or financial.
  • The defendant's actions directly led to your damages. You must prove that the defendant caused your losses, such as medical expenses, lost income, etc.

Our Chicago premises liability attorneys will help determine if you have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit.

Will The Property Owner Pay for Your Damages?

Most property owners and non-owner tenants have insurance coverage to protect them from liability claims arising from negligence (homeowners' and renters' insurance). A defendant may have to pay out of pocket if the insurance does not cover all the damages or if they do not have coverage.

Commercial property owners usually have general liability insurance to pay for injury lawsuits, including those caused by employees.

Your liability attorney will help determine who should be liable for your losses.

Viable Evidence in a Premises Liability Claim

Collecting substantial evidence is crucial to a successful civil lawsuit. Your injury lawyer will help you gather different forms of proof, such as:

  • Medical records
  • Photos of injuries
  • Documentation of the accident scene
  • Police reports
  • Incident reports
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness accounts
  • Expert testimony

You may also need to present evidence of your losses, such as:

  • Records of missed workdays
  • Hospital bills and prescriptions
  • Psychological evaluations

Recoverable Damages

Filing a legal claim could help you recover financial compensation for your losses, including:

  • Medical Bills: Cost of hospitalization, emergency transportation, medication, surgery, physical therapy, future anticipated medical bills, etc.
  • Disability: Rehabilitation, mobility aids, household modifications, and other related damages if you become temporarily or permanently disabled.
  • Pain and Suffering: Financial recovery for physical and emotional injuries, e.g., physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, etc.
  • Lost Wages: Income, wages, benefits, and business opportunities lost while recovering from your injuries or caring for an injured loved one.
  • Wrongful Death: Funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical costs, loss of consortium, and other death-related damages if your loved one dies from the accident.

Premises liability lawsuits end in varying settlement amounts. An experienced premises liability lawyer will calculate the potential value of your compensation based on your damages and other applicable factors.

Filing a Claim with the Insurance Company

Most premises liability accidents involve insurance claims and end in settlements. However, obtaining a fair payment can be challenging.

When you file a claim with the defendant's insurance company, you may first receive a low settlement offer.

Thus, it is best not to accept the offer. Instead, have your Chicago premises liability attorney negotiate for full and fair compensation. An experienced attorney will help ensure your settlement is enough to cover all your damages.

Do You Need to File a Civil Lawsuit?

Most premises liability cases end in settlements, wherein defendants agree to pay plaintiffs a fixed amount for their losses. However, you may have to move your premises liability case to civil court if:

  • The defendant continues to deny responsibility for your accident
  • The defendant's insurer refuses to make a fair offer or denies your claim without a valid reason
  • Negotiations have stalled

Furthermore, a wrongful death lawsuit may be necessary if your loved one dies in a premises liability accident.

Why You Should Hire an Illinois Premises Liability Attorney

Premises liability claims are typically complex and often require substantial evidence. You need an experienced premises liability attorney who will take over your case. They will:

  • Investigate how and why the accident occurred; pinpoint the dangerous condition that caused it
  • Identify negligent parties and establish their liability for your injuries
  • Determine the extent of your damages and calculate the potential value of your settlement
  • Collect evidence to support your claim
  • File your premises liability case with the defendant's insurance company representatives
  • Negotiate settlement values
  • File a premises liability lawsuit and represent you in court, if necessary

You don't have to go through this legal battle alone. Let your premises liability attorney take the burden off your shoulders and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Hire a Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer

The last thing you expect is to get hurt when you visit someone else's property. Unfortunately, many property owners fail to meet their obligation to keep visitors safe.

If you or a loved one were injured due to an owner's negligence, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help. Our premises liability lawyers help injury victims recover fair compensation through out-of-court settlements and litigation.

Contact our Chicago premises liability lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private under an attorney-client relationship.

Our legal team handles all premises liability claims on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you only have to pay legal fees if we win your case.


Personal Injury News & Developments - Premises Liability
Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa