Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer | Chicago Premises Liability Law Firm
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on another party’s property due to the negligent action, or inaction, of the property owner, you may qualify for compensation for the losses that you incurred. Contact an experienced Chicago premises liability lawyer from TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation case consultation today. Want to find out if you qualify right now? Use our chatbot below for a free, instant online case evaluation from a trusted Chicago premises liability law firm.
Chicago Premises Liability
Premises liability law comes into play when an accident or injury occurs on privately-owned or publicly operated property due to an unsafe hazard or other avoidable safety danger.
Examples of common premises liability cases in Chicago include unmaintained sidewalks and walking areas, wet floors, unsecured falling objects, and unmaintained and dangerous properties.
Where Do Chicago Premises Liability Incidents Occur?
Common locations of premises liability incidents can include, but are not limited to:
- Public parking lots and parking garages
- Private stores and businesses
- Private homes, yards, and pools
- Public parks and recreational areas
If you have suffered an injury on another person’s premises, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A Chicago injury lawyer can help guide you through the process of gaining compensation for the losses that you incurred as a result of your injury or accident on another party’s premises.
What Is Premises Liability in Chicago, IL?
According to Illinois law, the person(s) who is in control of the property (premises) is the individual or group who currently occupies and controls access to the premises. Even if you are not the property owner, you may be liable for incidents that occur on a property where you reside if you control who is invited onto the property.
The legal obligations that a property owner owes to other persons within the boundaries of the owner’s property are protected under premises liability in Illinois.
Those duties of the owner are defined by the “duty of care”, the reasonably expected level of care that the average property owner and a visitor would expect of the property owner to ensure safety for all visitors.
A Chicago premises liability lawyer can help victims determine what the “duty of care” expectations would likely be, to help justify legal action.
Types of Visitors
Invitations to a property are granted to visitors from property owners, managers, and staff. There are three common types of visitors.
- Invitees: any individual invited onto a property to conduct business with the property owner, manager, and/or staff.
- Example: contractors, business associates, groundskeepers
- Licenses: any individual invited onto a property for social purposes.
- Example: family, friends, neighbors
- Trespassers: any individual who enters the domain of private property without a prior invitation from the property owner, manager, and/or staff.
- In general, trespassers do not have a claim against a property owner for any injuries that occur while they are trespassing on the property. However, there are special circumstances that may hold the property owner liable for the injury. If the injury occurred because the property has been defined as excessively dangerous or because the property owner takes action with the intent to purposefully harm trespassers, then the owner may be held liable. The definition of excessive danger and purposeful harm differ state-by-state and even by local government regulations.
Types of Invitations
Visitors must be given consent to enter the property, otherwise, they are considered trespassers. Visitors can be invited onto a property in one or more of the following types of invitations:
- Written: any documented form of invitation consenting to a visitor’s presence on the property.
- Examples include letters, emails, mail, etc.
- Spoken: word-of-mouth consent granted in a conversation between the property owner, manager, or staff and the visitor.
- Examples include phone calls, conversations, etc.
- Implied: consent that is implied due to a longstanding relationship, past invitations, or certain circumstances. This type of invitation is more subjective and harder to prove than others.
- Examples include family members visiting each other’s homes, patients visiting their physicians, neighbors walking on other neighbor’s property.
Once an invitation has been accepted, both the property owner and the visitor must meet expectations to ensure the visitor’s safety.
What are a Chicago Property Owner’s Responsibilities?
Property owners (including managers and staff) must meet two expectations to ensure visitors’ safety.
- Make reasonable efforts to protect visitors from likely harm.
- We say “likely” and not “all” danger because some incidents are anomalies.
- Consider future foreseeable harms.
- Again, not all incidents are predictable.
- However, the property owner is expected to consider any-and-all plausible future incidents and do everything in their power to avoid these incidents from occurring. An example of this is staying up to code with requirements set by law.
Unfair Expectations of Responsibilities
Expectations must be fair and attainable. Property owners cannot be held liable for unfair expectations.
Examples of unfair expectations:
- A business owner hosting a work party at his/her place of business should not be expected to hire security to ensure the safety of workers’ vehicles parked in the parking lot.
- A contractor should not be expected to have on-site medical personnel after hours of operation just in case a trespasser is injured on the worksite.
If a property owner does not make reasonable efforts to protect visitors from likely danger or there is evidence that the property owner did not consider how to avoid injury to visitors, the property owner can be held liable for a visitor’s injury.
Am I Liable For My Personal Premises?
As a property owner or manager, you must meet certain safety expectations – known as the “duty of care” – so that any invitees of your property will not be exposed to unreasonable dangers.
If you fail to meet this duty of care by failing to minimize risks and create a reasonably safe environment, you may be liable for any injuries that occur on your property or premises. The insurance policy you have through your insurance company can also help if an accident does occur on your property, but you will still be held responsible for your negligence.
What are the Visitor’s Responsibilities?
Visitors are expected to mitigate possible injuries and other losses that could result from an accident on another party’s premises.
Mitigation is the act of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of an injury.
Visitors are expected to do everything in their power to avoid injury while on another person’s private property. If a visitor is injured, they are also expected to properly address the injury to avoid the continued aggravation of the injury which may result in increased severity of that injury.
Example of mitigating an injury
If there is a large pothole on the sidewalk of a private property that is obviously visible to the visitor, the visitor is expected to walk around the pothole rather than walk over it.
If the visitor does not see the pothole and trips walking over it, badly injuring their leg, the visitor is expected to seek medical attention to address the injury as soon as possible after the incident occurs. If the visitor does not seek medical attention and the injury gets worse over time, the property owner cannot be held liable for the continued worsening of the injury.
If a property owner can show that a visitor did not make an effort to mitigate injury then they can argue that they not liable for the visitor’s injuries.
Is shared liability a part of Chicago premises liability law?
In some cases, both the property owner and the visitor may be found to hold partial responsibility for a visitor’s injury and subsequently, the premises liability claim. Liability is then shared between both the owner and the visitor. Both parties must work to arbitrate liability to determine how damages will be shared.
Example of shared liability
The visitor from the previous example did not see the pothole, tripped over it, and sprained their ankle. The property owner was aware of the pothole and had planned on addressing it but had not gotten around to it yet. The visitor knew that the property owner was aware of the pothole so they decided to continue to walk on the ankle without seeking medical attention first. The sprain got much worse to the point that the injured visitor had to see a doctor. The doctor determined that the original injury was a grade 1 sprain but continued walking resulted in a grade 3 sprain.
The property owner is liable for the grade 1 sprain because it was the result of their negligence. However, the visitor is liable for all other damages because they did not mitigate the injury.
Suffered an Injury on Premises in Chicago, IL
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries on a property owner’s premises in Chicago, IL, these are the 3 steps you should take:
1. Mitigate Your Injuries
The first and most important step is mitigating your injuries and losses. Get treatment from a qualified healthcare professional and follow your doctor’s orders. Do everything in your power to minimize the risk of further injury and avoid additional financial losses related to your injury.
2. Gather Evidence
You should begin gathering evidence as soon as possible after your injury. Evidence will help prove that liability for your accident falls on the property owner.
Common types of evidence include:
- Photos of the scene of the accident and hazard that caused the accident
- Photos of your injuries & progressive photos of the healing process
- Personal written statement of the event
- Witness statements and contact information
- Emergency responder reports, statements, and contact information
- Medical bills, records, and other documents related to your injury
Your Chicago premises liability lawyer will help you to gather any evidence that you are unable to retrieve on your own.
3. Contact a Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
Be sure to contact a Chicago premises liability lawyer from TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation case consultation. We can provide you with a legal analysis and give you options for moving forward towards compensation, all free of charge.
Hiring Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer
There are many benefits to hiring an injury lawyer to represent you in a premises liability case.
An attorney can help you to:
- assess the situation
- gather evidence
- determine liability
- assess damages
- Build a strong case to support your claim
- Represent you through the complex civil litigation process
- Ensure that you get the most possible compensation for your losses
TorHoerman Law, Chicago Premises Liability Law Firm
TorHoerman Law has a team of experienced Chicago premises liability attorneys who are ready to serve you and your best interests.
Our team has won over $4 billion in personal injury litigation negotiated settlements and verdicts for our clients. Our attorneys are considered some of the best lawyers in Illinois, including being recognized as the Top 100 attorneys in the state by their peers.
Contact TorHoerman Law Firm today for a no-obligation free consultation. Our Chicago premises liability lawyers can help answer any questions you may have, free of charge.
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