If you or a loved one were injured on someone else’s property due to unmaintained or dangerous conditions, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled premises liability attorneys in Chicago by calling (800) 985-1819.
Steps to take if you were hurt on someone else’s property
The steps you take after being hurt on someone else’s property can significantly impact your legal claim for compensation and your chances of recovering from your injuries. Be sure to take these steps if you’ve been injured to ensure the best possible outcome.
1. Visit a doctor as soon as possible
Your health should always be your priority after being injured. Make sure to get medical attention as soon as you can, even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. Seeing a doctor immediately after being injured will provide you with an official record of your injury and its connection to dangerous property conditions.
2. Take photographs and gather other types of evidence
Document the area where you were injured and any hazardous conditions that may have caused your injuries. Take photographs, gather video footage, write down witness contact information, and document what happened leading up to the injury.
It’s best to do this before the property owner can clean up any evidence of your injury, but you should prioritize taking care of your health and safety first if this isn’t possible.
3. File an incident or police report
Filling out and filing an incident or police report can help your case by providing another document of your injury. Many businesses have incident reports that are typically filled out by the business owner or manager when an injury occurs on their premises. In addition, it may be beneficial to get a police report, especially if criminal activity caused your injury. Be sure to get a copy of any report you file.
4. Hold on to your medical or expense records
You should keep any records of expenses you incur as a result of your injury, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, medical supplies, and medications. This documentation can demonstrate how much you’ve had to pay as a result of someone else’s negligence.
It’s also wise to keep copies of your medical records for any doctor’s visits and related treatments. These records can show the extent of your injury, any treatments you received, and how long it took to recover.
5. Speak with an attorney
Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your health and any evidence you may need for your case, it’s time to speak with a Chicago premises liability lawyer. An attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can review the facts of your case and advise you on your options so you can decide how you want to proceed.
Types of premises liability cases
Premises liability cases involve injury or harm that occurs on someone else’s property. This is a broad area that covers a wide range of scenarios. The possibilities are vast, but some types of cases are particularly common.
Slip-and-fall accidents are the most common cause of premises liability cases. When we look at the statistics provided by the National Floor Safety Institute, we can see that more than one million people go to the emergency room each year due to slip-and-fall injuries.
Falling merchandise or debris
Merchandise or debris that falls from shelves, buildings, scaffolding, or other structures can cause serious injuries. These cases may occur at a construction site, a store, or any other property where there’s an elevated structure.
Faulty elevators or escalators
Elevators and escalators are complex machines that can malfunction and cause substantial harm if not properly maintained. If a property owner fails to maintain or repair an elevator or escalator, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Inadequate or negligent security
Property owners are responsible for providing a reasonable level of security for their premises. This includes keeping areas well-lit, maintaining locks on doors and windows, and properly training their security personnel. When property owners fail to meet these standards, they may be liable for damages caused by a third party’s criminal activity.
Playground or amusement park accidents
Playgrounds, amusement parks, and other recreational areas are expected to be reasonably safe for visitors. Property owners may be held liable if factors like improper maintenance or defective equipment lead to an injury.
Swimming pool and hot tub accidents
Businesses and private residence owners with pools and hot tubs on the premises are required to take steps to ensure the area is reasonably safe. This includes having a fence around them with locking gates so children cannot get in while unattended. This also includes using all chemicals appropriately so that guests and patrons do not become ill.
Plenty of people in and around Chicago have pets. If you’re on another person’s property and are bitten by or knocked down by an animal, the property owners could be held liable for any injuries you sustain. Consider speaking with a dog bite lawyer in Chicago to learn more about your legal options.
Make sure you file a claim in time
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a premises liability case. In Illinois, you only have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim. If you fail to file within this window of time — known as the statute of limitations — you may be unable to pursue compensation for your injuries.
While two years may seem like a long time, consider that you need time to gather evidence, speak with an attorney, and submit your claim. Many premises liability claims require substantial investigations on the part of the attorney, and this can take a great deal of time.
By contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your injury, you can ensure that your claim is filed before the deadline and that your attorney has ample time to build a strong claim on your behalf.
Possible damages you could claim
There are various types of compensation available for a premises liability case. Each case is different, but we’ll generally look to recover both economic and non-economic damages which are forms of compensatory damages. In some cases, punitive damages may also be available.
Economic damages refer to quantifiable losses resulting from the injury. These may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Modifications to your home or vehicle
- Cost of necessary medical equipment
Economic damages can also include things that are a bit harder to calculate like a person’s future medical bills, loss of future wages, and diminished earning capacity due to the injuries.
Non-economic damages refer to things that are more difficult to calculate. This can include:
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional and psychological damages
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
Calculating non-economic damages will often involve the help of expert medical witnesses as well as economic experts who can testify to a jury about how the injuries are currently impacting your life and how they will continue to do so in the future.
We’ll work to obtain maximum compensation
Our attorneys strive to obtain maximum compensation for our clients who’ve been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another party. This means that we’ll exhaust every avenue to pursue any and all damages to which you’re entitled.
We’ll often begin by working with the insurance company or the at-fault party to negotiate a settlement. If an acceptable agreement can’t be reached, we’ll take your case to court and let a jury decide the outcome.
Common premises liability injuries
Premises liability injuries vary greatly, as you could imagine when looking at that list of causes. It is not uncommon for us to see the following injuries in the aftermath of a premises incident:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Drownings or near-drowning
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe lacerations or amputations
- Severe burn injuries
- Internal organ damage or bleeding
- Emotional and psychological trauma
Who may be liable for your injury
When filing a premises liability case on your behalf, we’ll look to identify all parties who may be at fault for your injuries. Some cases have multiple liable parties with varying degrees of liability, while others may have only one.
Property or business owner
The primary party responsible for a premises liability injury is typically the owner of the property or business where the injury occurred. Property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe from hazards and dangers that could potentially cause harm to visitors. While they may offset some of this responsibility to employees, property owners can still be liable for the actions of people they employ in some circumstances.
In some cases, a business manager or supervisor may be held liable for an injury that occurs due to unsafe premises. This is especially true when the manager or supervisor knew about a hazard but failed to address it.
When tenants are injured on their leased property, a landlord may be held liable for the injuries if they were aware of the hazard or if they failed to fix it properly. Landlord negligence can also include failing to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable injuries.
How our attorneys prove liability
Establishing who’s liable and proving it to a jury requires meticulous investigation and research. Our attorneys will work diligently to uncover all of the evidence necessary to prove liability in your case.
This includes collecting evidence from the scene as well as speaking to eyewitnesses or experts. We’ll also review any relevant documents such as repair logs and maintenance records to determine when the owner first became aware of the hazard. If needed, we’ll also enlist the help of expert witnesses who can provide insight into the incident’s link to the injury.
Cost of hiring a premises liability attorney in Chicago
After a premises liability injury, the last thing you should worry about is the cost of legal representation. That’s why our attorneys offer free consultations to discuss your case and how we can help.
We also provide our personal injury services on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay any fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. This arrangement provides our clients with the peace of mind of knowing they won’t owe any attorney’s fees if their case is unsuccessful, and it gives us the incentive to pour everything we have into your case.
Our Chicago premises liability lawyers are here to help
Chicago premises liability cases can be among the most difficult and require the help of an experienced premises liability lawyer. With our help, you can focus on what matters most — your recovery — and leave the legal details to us. Contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today to schedule a free consultation.