Chicago Unsafe Premises Attorneys
Unsafe Premises / Private Property
A common lawsuit arises when someone is injured on someone else’s premises – for example, a construction worker getting hurt at a construction site, a customer slipping and falling in a grocery store on a spill of some sort, or falling down a stairway because of loose carpeting or lack of a hand rail.
Contrary to widely held belief, the injured person is not automatically entitled to compensation for their injuries. The law in Illinois states that an injured person must prove several facts about the premises and the injuries before damages may be awarded.
The injury must be caused by an unsafe condition on the premises. Examples include oil on the floor, a hole in the floor, an unbarricaded hole on a construction site or failure to have fall protection for an ironworker on a construction project.
The best way to prove the existence of a defect or condition is to take pictures of the defect as soon as possible after the injury. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words was never more true than in a personal injury case. Photographs should be taken from all angles, including from ground level. Rulers should be utilized to measure and show the size of the defect and these measurements should be photographed. Use at least two rolls of film. It’s better to err on the side of taking too many photos.
Independent witnesses who are able to testify regarding your injury are extremely important. After the incident, try to get the names of anyone who may have seen the accident or who helped you after the accident. These people can testify to the conditions in case the owner denies it. Obtaining a copy of an accident report is a good way to get the names. This will enable your attorney to call witnesses who are not employees of the defendant to testify on your behalf.
A second major point that any person must prove in order to prevail in a premises injury claim is called notice. The owner must have notice that the condition existed before he or she will be found liable. In other words, the Plaintiff must show that the owner or possessor of the property or the general contractor knew or should have known of the unsafe condition.
Premise liability cases can be among the most difficult. While the Defendant may have a duty to exercise reasonable care for your safety, the jury will be instructed that you have the same duty. The Defendant normally accuses the Plaintiff of not keeping a proper lookout, not asking his union steward or foreman to change the job conditions and/or not attempting to prevent the accident.