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Premises Liability

Premises Liability Attorneys in Chicago

Premises liability is a legal concept and subcategory of personal injury law. Generally, it states that property owners are responsible for keeping a safe environment and upholding a certain duty of care for their entrants. An entrant has the right to sue the owner of the property in the event that they were injured due to a condition on the property. There are many factors to consider, however, in evaluating if the property owner was negligent, what duty of care was owed to the entrant and more. The law also varies from state to state, so it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side to defend your rights and help you in the way that is needed based on your state’s statutes.

At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, 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 from a premises liability accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.

Types of Premises Liability Cases

There are countless types of premises liability cases. These depend on where the accident takes place or what caused the accident. Some of the more common or well-known types of premises liability cases include the following:

  • Slip and falls or trip and falls
  • Balcony accidents
  • Dram shop liability
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Inadequate security

From these accidents, a breadth of injuries is possible. Depending on the conditions, one can suffer bruising and cuts, broken bones, concussions, suffocation, drowning, third-degree burns, disfigurement, disability, or even death.

Necessary Elements to Prove a Premises Liability Case

There are a few elements to premises liability cases that are absolutely necessary in order to prove that you have a valid case for yourself so that you can recover the damages that you suffered. In Illinois, the Premises Liability Act 740 ILCS 130/, governs any legal action on this legal concept.

The plaintiff should first be positive that they can prove that the owner or occupier owns the property, that the hazard that caused the accident existed on the property and you were unaware of it, that your injuries were directly caused by this hazard, and that the owner knew or should have known that it existed and did not warn you about it. Another important factor to consider is foreseeability. If the hazard was reasonably foreseeable, then the owner or occupier may not be found liable since it would be seen by any reasonable person. This can be proven with surveillance footage or witness testimony.

There are four essential elements that must be proven for you, as the plaintiff, to have a viable case in a premises liability lawsuit. This includes being able to show that:

  • The owner or occupier owed you, the invitee or licensee, a duty of care
  • That duty of care was breached in some way
  • Their breach of duty caused your injuries
  • You were in fact injured or harmed from their actions, or lack thereof

In premises liability cases, a “duty of care” is a legal obligation that property owners owe their lawful entrants to ensure their safety and enjoyment. To uphold this duty of care, one must follow a standard of reasonable care in maintaining and inspecting the property for hazards. Your accident can be corroborated and strengthened with evidence such as surveillance footage, photographs of the scene at the time, photographs of your injuries, your clothing, witness testimonies, medical records, and more.

Parties Involved in Premises Liability Cases

The parties involved in a premises liability case come down to two particular parties: the injured entrant and the responsible property owner. There are three types of entrants in these cases according to premises liability statutes. The first type is an invitee which refers to a person that is invited to the property, often for the benefit of the property owner, and is owed the highest duty of care. Licensees are people that are permitted to come to the property for their own benefit and are owed the same high duty of care as invitees under Illinois law. Lastly, trespassers are those who are not allowed on the property and thus do not have the right to sue the property owner if they are injured on the property. There is an exception to this rule for trespassers, though. If the property owner had injured them by willful and wanton means, the trespasser may be able to sue them.

Some responsible parties may be the individual property owner of a building, a home, a supermarket, a landlord, and more. This may extend to a larger entity, such as a condominium owners association. This type of group is responsible for maintaining the property and environment of the condo, so a trip and fall due to an extremely uneven floorboard could be traced to the condo owners association as negligence. Another type of responsible party could be a business owner if an entrant is injured due to the business’s failure to keep up with its duty of care and a safe environment. Another type of responsible party is dram shop owners, otherwise known as the owner of a business that sells alcoholic drinks. They can be found liable for negligence if an accident occurs and the individual that caused it was overly intoxicated due to alcohol purchased from the dram shop owner.

For product liability cases, when a product malfunctions and causes you injury, you have the right to sue the product manufacturer. If a specific component of the product was responsible for the accident, you could sue the manufacturer of that specific component. Additionally, you may be able to take action further in the chain of distribution by suing the retailer of the defective product since they were responsible for selling it. Once you speak to a trusted attorney, they can give you the best advice on which party to take action against given your specific situation and injuries.

Damages That Can Be Recovered

Illinois follows the legal principle of modified comparative negligence. This means that in your premises liability case, the plaintiff will not be able to recover the damages if they are found to be equally or more responsible for the accident and injury than the other party. The plaintiff can collect their damages only if they are found to be less responsible for the accident than the defendant. In this case, some damages that you can be awarded include the following: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment in normal life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages

If you or a loved one has been injured from a premises liability accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.

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