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Chicago Premises Liability Attorney

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If you were injured on another party’s property, you may have a premises liability case. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that their property does not present hazards or dangers to people. In general, if a property owner knew or should have known that the danger was present, they should have taken steps to warn of the danger or fixed the problem.

At Smith LaCien LLP in Chicago, we have decades of experience helping injury victims and their families recover financial compensation for injuries and wrongful death cases. Illinois premises liability cases are rarely straightforward; you do not want to attempt to fight the insurance company on your own. Our experienced lawyers know how to obtain the compensation you need for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Learn more today with a free consultation.

Slip-and-Fall Accidents Can Be Catastrophic or Fatal

Although falling down doesn’t necessarily sound dangerous, it often causes serious injuries, especially if a person hits their head and suffers a traumatic brain injury. Even a mild concussion can affect people for months or years and a severe traumatic brain injury can be fatal. In addition, people can injure their back and spine, and suffer broken bones.

Falls can happen anywhere, of course, but some of the most common places are grocery stores, discount stores, big-box stores, icy sidewalks, slick steps, around pools and at shopping malls. Any wet or slick surface can be dangerous, as can cracked or broken flooring, bunched up carpeting or floor mats, and other objects such as cords or wires on the floor.

Premises Liability Is More Than Just Falls

In addition to slip-and-fall accidents, we represent people who have suffered premises liability injuries due to:

  • Negligent security: Hotels, apartment complexes, workplaces and gas stations can result in assault or robbery if they do not have sufficient security measures in place.
  • Stairway accidents: Broken steps, lack of handrails and poor lighting can make steps and stairwells dangerous.
  • Pool accidents and drowning: An open hazard such as a swimming pool can lead to falls and head injuries or oxygen deprivation and drowning. Gates or lifeguards can make pools safer.
  • Elevator and escalator accidents: Tripping and falling or getting caught in the escalator steps can cause serious injuries. An elevator accident can result in broken bones, head injuries and spinal cord injuries.

These are just a few examples of premises liability cases. If you were injured on another party’s property, speak with us and find out how we may be able to assist you.

Different Categories of Persons on a Property

Although every property owner has a duty to keep their property safe, that duty applies differently depending on the reason for the person’s visit. A person’s presence on a property can either be lawful or unlawful, and as such, the responsibility of the property owner to keep them safe is different. Premises liability refers to a set of laws that make an owner or possessor of the land or premises responsible for certain injuries sustained by persons who are on the premises.

There are three different categories of people who a property owner must prepare for: invitees and licensees who are lawfully on the property and trespassers who are unlawfully on the property. Under Illinois premises liability law, the duty to invitees and licensees is the same.

Although the distinction no longer matters under Illinois law, the difference between whether a person is an invitee or a licensee to a property depends on the reason why they are on the property. A person who visits a property owner’s premises with no business purpose is a licensee. And a person who visits a property owner’s premises for a business or commercial purpose is an invitee. When you go to the grocery store or pay an entrance fee to a bar or restaurant, your purpose on the premises gives the property owner or manager a material or commercial benefit.

A trespasser, on the other hand, is a person who enters or is on another person’s property unlawfully. A trespasser is on the property for their own purpose with no right to be there and without the permission or invitation of the property owner.

Property Owner’s Duty to Persons on their Property

Generally, under Illinois law, a property owner does not owe a duty of care to a trespassing adult. However, they must not willfully and wantonly injure a trespasser.

The property owner’s duty to invitees and licensees requires more. Property owners must exercise ordinary care by maintaining their properties in a reasonably safe condition for invitees and licensees who are lawfully on their property. They must avoid creating or allowing dangerous conditions to exist on the property. And, they have a duty to warn lawful visitors to the property of any dangerous condition that the visitor may not discover on their own.

Responsibility of Visitors on a Premises

Lawful visitors on a premises must also take some responsibility for their own safety. Under Illinois law, property owners are generally under no duty to protect adult visitors from open and obvious dangers on the property. There are conditions such as heights and bodies of water that are considered common and obvious, and the law assumes that persons who encounter these conditions are well aware of the inherent dangers in such conditions and will take the necessary precautions to avoid the risk of harm.

A property owner may avoid legal responsibility for injuries suffered by a person who fails to appreciate and avoid obvious risks of harmful conditions on their property. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your injury, you lose nothing when you contact the experienced Chicago premises liability team at Smith LaCien LLP because we offer free, no-obligation consultations.

Put Our Reputation and Experience On Your Side

Our experienced, dedicated attorneys promptly and thoroughly investigate our cases to preserve evidence, determine fault and assess liability on behalf of injured individuals and the families of those killed in trucking crashes. Smith LaCien’s lengthy history of representing victims of personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death has resulted in more than $2.5 billion in verdicts and settlements and over 100 cases of results of at least $1 million.

Smith LaCien offers free, no-obligation consultations to accident victims and their families. We also handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we obtain results. To learn more about how we can help, call us at (312) 509-8900 or contact us using our online form.

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