Whether working, shopping, enjoying local sights, or simply traveling between destinations, everyone in Chicago faces some risk as they go about their day. Using common sense and understanding risk, someone can avoid being injured under most circumstances, such as by looking both ways before crossing the street.
However, sometimes, people are hurt by a hazard they had no way of anticipating. Or, they weren’t given all of the information they needed to make a safe decision.
When their injury happens because of a hazardous condition on a property, including public places like parks, the property owner or primary manager of the property could be held responsible for the resulting costs.
These types of cases are called “premises liability” injury claims because they involve the liability (legal responsibility) of the person who is in charge of keeping the premises (property) safe.
Slip and fall cases are one of the most common types of these claims, but they can involve any harm inflicted because someone failed to keep the property safe — or, at least, failed to warn people about the dangers.
Illinois law clearly outlines responsibilities for the damages someone suffers because of an unsafe property. Hiring a Chicago premises liability lawyer can help you exercise your legal rights to compensation in light of these laws.
The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers is ready to assist you in your claim for a slip and fall or other injuries from a careless property owner or caretaker. Find out more about how we can help you and what damages might be available when you call 312-999-9990 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation case review.
What Types of Cases Will a Chicago Premises Liability Attorney Handle?
A premises liability lawyer in Chicago can handle any personal injury case where the injury was the result of an issue with a property, specifically. Typical scenarios for a premises liability case include:
- Slip and fall
- Structural collapse
- Dangerous stairs or inclines
- Hazards likely to cause severe injury or death, such as sharp surfaces or electrical currents
- Loose carpeting, small flooring elevation changes, and other tripping hazards
- Unsafe flooring
- Unsafe pools or water containment
- Exposure to toxic substances, like asbestos
- Property defects increasing the risk of a motor vehicle collision
- Attacks by dogs or other animals after a failure to contain them
- Falling debris or objects
- Criminal acts that could have been prevented (negligent security)
- Damaged or weak flooring
- Injuries stemming from non-compliance with building codes including fire and smoke injuries
- Other dangerous conditions the property owner or current controlling party failed to prevent or sufficiently warn about
Don’t Be Intimidated or Sweet-Talked Into Waiving Your Rights, Hire an Attorney!
There are many different types of parties that can be named in an injury claim for the above types of situations, including retail store owners, real estate groups, and government agencies.
All will try to reduce their exposure to liability and make it as difficult as possible to obtain the full value of the damages you have suffered as an injury victim.
The Fakhouri Firm fights back against these well-monied groups to help you have a high chance of recovering all of the compensation you need to move on from the incident. We provide you with a comprehensive set of services designed to maximize the compensation you receive, including:
- There are many different types of parties that can be named in an injury claim for the above types of situations, including retail store owners, real estate groups, and government agencies.
- All will try to reduce their exposure to liability and make it as difficult as possible to obtain the full value of the damages you have suffered as an injury victim.
- The Fakhouri Firm fights back against these well-monied groups to help you have a high chance of recovering all of the compensation you need to move on from the incident. We provide you with a comprehensive set of services designed to maximize the compensation you receive, including:
In short, we do everything possible to minimize the stress and labor you have to put into your claim while still giving you the power to select from your available legal options. Our sole priority is to give you the best chances at successful recovery, both financially and medically, following your devastating accident.
Damages Available After a Slip and Fall or Other Property-Related Accident
Most premises liability claims will involve an attempt to recover the following kinds of losses, called “damages.”
- Medical bills, past and future
- Lost wages, including any paid time off or other benefits used while missing work, as well as any temporary or permanent reductions in earnings
- Out-of-pocket expenses directly related to handling the accident or treating your injury
- Personal property repair and replacement
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
- Punitive damages for cases that proceed to trial and where the responsible party acted with gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional malice
What Are Common Places Where an Injury Can Happen Prior to a Premises Liability Claim?
There are so many dangers we face every single day, but we tend to put them out of our minds. Only when we are hurt unexpectedly do we begin to feel scared about our ability to protect ourselves from harm.
Unfortunately, any time we go into a public place or enter someone else’s property, we put our own safety into their hands. Sometimes, that trust is misplaced, and a negligent property owner, tenant, or management company will allow a condition to develop or remain that causes us serious injury.
In other words, a slip and fall or other type of property-related injury can happen anywhere. Some of the most common locations we have seen include:
- Apartment buildings and condo common areas
- Retail stores and grocery stores
- Daycares, schools, and universities
- Restaurants and bars
- L trains, CTA buses, and other public transit
- Airports and L stations
- Sports stadiums
- Private residences
- Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship
- Government buildings
- The pedway
- Public parks and spaces
- Parking decks and parking lots
- Office buildings
Basically, every person or entity who owns a property or is responsible for its condition is potentially liable any time you get hurt on their property. You have a legal right to then explore your options for filing a liability claim under the appropriate insurance policy.
Who Is at Fault for My Property Injury in Chicago?
There are many different types of premises liability claims, but most of them will involve one (or several) of the types of parties listed below.
The Property’s Owner
The actual owner of the property, in fact, has the highest degree of responsibility to keep the premises safe. That includes setting appropriate standards for the occupant of the property and the manager of the property, regardless of whether they are technically a third party.
The property owner also has a duty to regularly verify that the property is being safely operated, potentially including the need to have scheduled inspections — or to, at least, verify that such inspections have taken place.
The property owner will also likely have the highest benefits available for any injury that occurs on their property through their general liability policy. They may try to point fingers at others, but always take the time to evaluate the role a property owner’s negligence may have played in your claim.
The Tenant or Primary Occupant of the Property
One key aspect of Illinois premises liability law is that the person who had actual control of the property, in fact, is considered most responsible for any injury that occurs there. As indicated directly above, this duty may fall squarely on the property owner.
But in instances where the occupant of a property has a high degree of control over the property, or when their own actions introduced the hazard that led to the injury in question, they may end up shouldering the blame for an injury, in part or in full.
As an example, you may have been hurt at a drugstore that’s occupying a ground-floor unit in one of Chicago’s gorgeous historic skyscrapers. If the injury was related to a defect with the property itself, such as a collapsing piece of roof tile, then the property owner may hold primary responsibility.
However, if the hazard was introduced by the drugstore staff, such as because of an unmarked mop water puddle or an unsafely positioned endcap display, then the drugstore owner may face liability for the injury instead.
Another Driver or Third Party
A premises liability claim may separately name another party that was negligent, such as a careless delivery truck driver if the injury occurred on the property partly because of a hazard but also partly because of the third party’s actions.
A Government Agency, Such as the CTA
Your injury may have occurred on a publicly owned or managed piece of property, such as at an L station or while seeing Chicago’s famous “Cloudgate” monument (aka “The Bean”) during a visit to Millenium Park. Government properties are supposed to be kept as safe as any other property, meaning you could be eligible to file a claim to recover your injury costs.
However, there are special rules involved. You will likely need to file your claim with the Illinois Court of Claims within one year of the date of your injury.
This deadline can approach fast, and you may need to do extensive preparation to ensure your claim isn’t rejected. To protect your legal rights, refer to an experienced Chicago injury attorney as soon as possible after your incident to get your claim moving
What To Do After You Have Been Hurt
- Take immediate measures to get somewhere safe and close by, preferably without leaving the property.
- Call 911 and request an ambulance if you are seriously hurt. Go to a doctor even if you aren’t sure if you have an injury, especially after a fall.
- Take photos of the condition of the property at the time you were hurt (ask someone else to do this if you are unable to), as well as your initial injuries.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses present
- Avoid admitting fault, and NEVER accept any offers of money, favors, or anything complimentary, as these could invalidate your right to seek further compensation
- Talk to an attorney who can help you identify the liable parties and the available insurance policies, preferably prior to contacting anyone else
- Follow the doctor’s orders to rest and reduce activity while you continue to pursue your claim.
Any time you have been hurt, even if the injuries seem minor at first, don’t let the property’s staff or legal representatives pressure you into waiving your right to a claim. Decline any and all offers, including something as simple as free food or beverage.
If they offer you medical care, accept it only if they have someone trained and licensed to provide emergency medicine. Otherwise, go to the nearest ER, urgent care, or the offices of your primary care physician if they can be reached in time to render possible emergency treatment.
Never delay care, and never let anyone convince you that you have no legal options, no matter how intimidating — or nice — they try to appear to be. Go through the proper channels, and defer most communications to your own attorney to maximize your chances of successful damage recovery.
What if Someone Says I Didn’t Have a Right to Be at the Property or Was At-Fault for My Injury?
Illinois law can prevent you from filing a premises liability claim if it’s determined that you contributed the majority of fault (51%, in most cases) to your own injury circumstances. It may also restrict the duties the property owner had to prevent harm coming to you if you had no “right” to be on the premises.
However, there are several big caveats that can work in a claimant’s favor. First, everyone has a right to be in a public place as well as in a common area where they have a legitimate task to perform, such as someone fundraising coming up the walkway up to a rowhouse.
Illinois law makes no distinction between someone explicitly welcomed to a property, like a business customer, versus someone who had implied permission to enter the property for legitimate purposes.
Further, someone may have a reason to believe they do have a right to be somewhere, even when it’s private property. So when a big developer takes over one of the most famous buildings in the city to turn it into condos and wants to keep the public out, someone hurt on the property may still have the right to seek an injury claim if they weren’t aware at the time that the building was not open to the public.
Even someone trespassing has some measure of rights, too. According to Illinois instructions provided to juries: “An owner owes no duty to a trespasser for the condition of the premises until the trespasser’s presence on the land is either known or should be known, after which the owner has a duty not to cause injury willfully or wantonly.”
Simply put, if you were hurt because of a hazardous condition, one the property owner or other responsibility should have reasonably known about or prevented, then you are likely to have a case.
Never take anything the liable party alleges at face value. Instead, work with an experienced premises liability attorney who will give you accurate information and help guide you toward the legal strategy that gives you the best chances of recovery.
Talk to a Chicago Premises Liability Law Firm Who’s Ready to Fight for You
Falls can be serious, with one in five resulting in broken bones or some sort of serious injury, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, many people who fall or are otherwise hurt on a piece of property in Chicago assume they don’t have the right to an injury claim.
A Chicago slip-and-fall lawyer can help you build your case and pursue damages through every means possible. Don’t assume you don’t have rights to an injury claim until you talk to a legal professional.
You can reach The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers at any time to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation when you call 312-999-9990 or contact us online for a free case review.