Building codes are a set of laws and guidelines governing the standards for certain types of buildings. Every building has its own specified building codes specific to its types, such as residential buildings, malls, and airports. The property owner, in designing and maintaining the building, must adhere to these codes for the safety and health of its entrants.
Building code violations occur all the time when property owners are negligent in maintaining the safety of the premises. Depending on the type of code violation, this could result in serious injury or sickness for the entrants as well as severe penalties and/or fines for the property owner. We are here to protect and help you recover from the consequences of one of these negligent violations.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a building code violation, contact our personal injury law office in Chicago, IL today for a free consultation.
Examples of Building Code Violations
The main purpose of building codes is to keep the structure safe for the innocent people that enter it. There are countless aspects of buildings that must be maintained and constructed by the property owner or other parties responsible for the property in a way that they comply with the codes.
These codes govern the materials, layout, design, and building practices that must be followed in a property. Installing fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, accessibility, lighting, and much more are just some of the practices which must be followed according to state law. However, when these are violated, common building code violations that could cause injury include the following:
- Faulty plumbing or wiring – When these two utilities are not properly working, it can cause damage to the area or potential fires.
- Faulty locks – A building’s locks, especially in a residential building, must be properly functioning for the safety of the residents.
- Defective elevators or escalators – Elevators and escalators must be in proper working condition at all times. When they are not, people can trip and fall or it may be inaccessible to individuals who cannot use stairs.
- Defective handrails, guardrails, or stairs – These defects could result in a serious slip and fall or trip and fall down a flight of stairs or an escalator.
- Poor lighting – This can be dangerous since poor lighting could be a safety issue as well as a slip and fall or trip and fall hazard.
- Unsafe balconies or porches – This could entail a weak foundation or faulty guardrails which can lead to fatal accidents.
- Failure to repair hazardous conditions – Hazardous conditions must be immediately repaired for the safety of others, which includes things like a spill in a hallway or exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals.
- Failure to properly maintain the property – Property owners must ensure that the general safety and cleanliness of the building is maintained at all times.
In building code violation cases, the main legal argument that must be made is that the liable party was negligent and that negligence caused your damages. There are four elements to prove negligence. First, you must prove that a duty of care existed between yourself and the liable party. This is afforded to all entrants who are invitees or licensees, not trespassers. Then, you must prove how this duty of care was breached by them. This can be proven by establishing their actions or inactions which led to the incident. Then, you must prove that their actions or inactions were the sole, direct cause of your damages and injuries. Lastly, you must prove that you did, in fact, suffer real damages, which you can prove with your medical bills, property damage, proof of lost wages, and more.
These are also largely matters of premises liability, which is rooted in proving negligence. Premises liability is a legal doctrine allowing an individual to pursue legal action against the property owner of the property where a hazardous condition caused their injuries. The vast majority of the time, the property owner is found liable in cases of building code violations. These can be complex and intricate cases to resolve, but we are here to ease that process so that you can get compensated for the damages and injuries that you had to experience due to this negligence.
Who Is Liable?
The liable party in these premises liability cases is the property owner more often than not. This is a civil matter of being negligent by failing to abide by state statutes in constructing and maintaining the building. The property owner has the duty of obtaining the building permit, which ensures the construction and repair of the building, as well as a licensed building inspector to conduct regular inspections. With these two obligations fulfilled, the building should be kept safe and compliant in most cases. Then, they are in charge of its maintenance and attending to any conditions that may make the property hazardous. For instance, in a residential building, they are responsible for promptly repairing conditions that are made known at any time and could harm others.
Sometimes, it may be the building’s contractor that is liable. They must follow building codes in regard to their location, design, and layout. If they violate these codes, they could be found liable for the resulting damages.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Building code violations could cause some serious damage, injury, or illness. Faulty plumbing could cause water damage to your property, while other things such as defective stairs could cause many injuries like broken bones or a traumatic brain injury. Also, exposure to toxic substances such as carbon monoxide could cause death or even cancer over the long-term in serious cases. We are here to help you get through these complicated premises liability matters and prove their negligence. After a successful claim or lawsuit, you can recover some monetary damages for what you have been through. Some damages that you can recover after a building code violation injury include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earnings
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a building code violation, contact our office today for a free consultation.