Unsafe conditions like faulty wiring, improperly stacked merchandise and loose carpeting cause accidents resulting in serious injury. Businesses and property owners have an important responsibility to create safe environments for their customers and visitors. This also includes walkways and parking lots, in addition to the people they hire. Employees are there to serve and at times, even protect people who visit their places of business. The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., are experienced in the legal responsibilities and liabilities of businesses or organizations that fail to provide these save environments.
You can readily suffer injury through no fault of your own when you visit property such as a store, office building, motel or apartment complex. If the owner or occupier of the property knew of a dangerous condition or activity that caused your injury and failed to take timely, reasonable steps to protect you from it, you may be eligible to recover full compensation for all harm you have suffered. You should immediately get help from an experienced Chicago premises liability attorney.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we can provide the skilled and compassionate legal representation that you need and deserve. For nearly four decades, our law firm has protected the rights of personal injury victims in Chicago and throughout Illinois, including those hurt by the negligence of property owners and occupiers. In more than 238 cases, we have secured an award of $1 million or more for our clients.
Let us put our experience to work for you today. Contact us now and learn more in a free consultation.
Premises Liability Claims in Illinois
When you work with Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we will carefully review the facts of your case. We will determine and pursue all of your legal options against the owner or occupier of the property where your injury occurred. Typically, the issues that we will focus on include:
- Duty – Did you lawfully visit the property? For instance, were you a customer at a store, a guest at a hotel or a social guest at someone’s home? If so, the property owner or occupier owed a duty to exercise ordinary care to make sure that the property was safe for you. In other words, the owner or occupier needed to take reasonable steps to protect you from any dangerous condition on the property that the owner or occupier knew or reasonably should have known about and which you would not have been expected to discover on your own.
- Breach – Did the owner or occupier fail to fix the dangerous condition in a reasonable, timely manner or, at the very least, to warn you about it? If so, the owner failed to fulfill the duty owed to you and could be held legally responsible for your injuries.
- Causation – Did the negligence of the owner or occupier contribute to the injuries that you suffered, or did something else – possibly your own actions – cause the injuries?
- Damages – Did you suffer actual harm due to the failure of the property owner or occupier to fulfill the duty owed to you? This means that you must show that you suffered real physical, emotional and/or financial harm.
It is always important to look at the ways a property owner or occupier will try to avoid liability. For instance, the owner or occupier may claim that you were a trespasser or argue that you suffered injuries because you walked into an “open and obvious” hazard. The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will be ready to tackle those issues and protect your right to full and fair compensation.
Types of Premises Liability Claims in Illinois
A premises liability claim can arise in many different situations. Some of the most common premises liability cases that our law firm handles include:
- Slip and falls – These incidents often occur due to wet and slippery floors, poor lighting, broken and uneven sidewalks, torn or frayed carpeting and icy or snowy sidewalks and parking lots. Additionally, many falls occur due to defects such as broken stairs or handrails.
- Falling objects – Many people suffer injuries when improperly stacked merchandise falls from store shelves or when workers drop tools, equipment and materials at construction sites.
- Contamination – Landlords, in particular, expose tenants and their visitors to harm when they fail to conduct routine inspections and remedy issues such as mold buildup, lead paint, carbon monoxide or gas leaks. Often, their negligence violates local building codes.
- Escalator and elevator accidents – These accidents often happen when building owners or tenants fail to routinely inspect and maintain elevators and escalators in stores, shopping centers and office complexes.
- Negligent security – Many assaults occur in shopping centers, office buildings, apartments, hotels and motels because property owners and managers fail to protect guests from known security risks, or they hire employees without an adequate criminal background check.
- Swimming pool accidents – Drownings and near-drownings may occur if a property owner or occupier fails to properly maintain a pool and features such as slides and diving boards. Pool owners should also use a fence or locked gate to keep out children and prevent the foreseeable risk of an accident.
Compensation in an Illinois Premises Liability Lawsuit
Our goal at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will be to secure maximum compensation for you in your premises liability claim. We know how dangerous property conditions can cause people to suffer severe, life-changing injuries such as traumatic brain injury, back and spine injuries, fractures, burns and soft tissue injuries. We will work hard to pursue damages on your behalf such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income (including lost future earning capacity)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death damages (if you lost your loved one)
- Punitive damages.
We will identify all sources of compensation for you and aggressively challenge any attempts by the property owner or occupier (or its insurance company) to blame you for your injuries and deny or reduce the amount of your claim.
Statute of Limitations for Illinois Premises Liability Claims
You should keep in mind that time limits apply to premises liability claims in Illinois. Generally, you must file a claim within two years from the date that your accident occurred on someone else’s property. If your loved one died in an accident, you must file the wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of the death. If you fail to meet these deadlines, you may be barred from bringing a premises liability claim. For this reason, you should make sure to contact our legal team as soon as you are ready to take action.
Our Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will move quickly to investigate your case. We work with experienced investigators who can document the scene of your accident, talk with witnesses and track down other evidence such as surveillance camera footage. We also regularly consult with experts who help us to determine how a dangerous property condition caused an accident. A major part of our investigation may involve tracking down the identity of the property owner or person who was otherwise in control of the premises where you or a loved one was hurt.
Additionally, our legal team will document and calculate all of your damages. For instance, we can gather your medical records and consult with medical experts to determine your past medical expenses and the costs of the care and treatment that you will need as you move forward. We will prepare a persuasive demand for compensation to the insurance company (or companies) involved in your case and, if necessary, we will be ready to present your case at trial. Our attorneys are highly skilled litigators who have secured numerous record-setting verdicts in courts in Cook County and throughout Illinois. You will pay legal fees only if we secure a financial recovery for you.
Premises Liability FAQs
I slipped on a broken jar in the grocery store and fell, breaking my wrist. The store says their clean-up crew had no chance to wipe up the glass before I slipped, so they are not responsible. Is this true?
The attorney for the store may try to use this argument, but it is unlikely to be successful in court. In general, businesses are responsible for the negligence of their cleaning crew. You should contact a premises liability attorney, who can advise you of your legal rights and appropriate next steps toward legal action. The law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., serves all of Illinois, from Chicago to Waukegan, Rockford, and Peoria. Contact us free today to see if you have a case.
I was attacked in a shopping mall parking lot. Can I sue the owners for my bills?
Generally, the owners of a business are responsible for reasonable security on their property. Reasonable security would include adequate lighting and security staff, among other measures. Also, if other crimes were committed, this would demonstrate a pattern of criminal activity that the owner would have been aware of – and should have provided additional security to counteract. You should gather any documentation, including police reports, details of medical care resulting from your attack and any other expenses, and contact a premises liability attorney who can advise you whether your situation merits legal action.
I recently talked with a friend about my premises liability case, who said I will need an expert witness. Do I really need an expert witness to prove my case?
There are certain situations in which an expert witness can be a strong advantage in a premises liability case, particularly if it goes before a jury. Medical experts, contractors, economists, and others may have special knowledge that a jury needs to understand in order to assign damages properly. An experienced premises liability attorney will be familiar with the types of cases that require an expert witness, and he or she should know the appropriate experts to consult for your specific situation.
A friend slipped in my living room, suffering a serious injury. I do have premises liability insurance, but I don’t believe his accident was my fault – what should I do?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for medical bills regardless of fault, so there is no need to debate who is to blame. However, these claims typically must be made in a short time span, so check your policy for this provision and act quickly.
I recently suffered from a slip and fall accident, and I don’t know if I really have a case. What should I do before I see an attorney?
Document all events related to your accident, including doctor’s visits, and contact by anyone regarding the accident. Photograph your injuries immediately. Do not speak to anyone from an insurance company until you contact an attorney. You can always elect not to go forward with legal action later – but some careful documentation now will be essential, and an attorney can help safeguard your rights.
I was injured when a faulty light fixture fell on me at a restaurant and have been contacted by their insurance company – what should I do?
Avoid providing any information to the insurance company without speaking first to an attorney – insurance companies will often try to make you sign papers that prevent you from suing anyone connected to the accident. They will also evaluate your situation based on how little damages they feel they can offer you – not how much your situation merits. You should always contact an experienced premises liability attorney first, who can review the circumstances of your accident and provide advice on the appropriate legal action.
I was injured at an outdoor event – and the property owner has already offered to pay for my injuries. Why do I need an attorney?
An experienced premised liability attorney can investigate the circumstances in which you were injured, identify all negligent parties, interview any witnesses, and provide professional advice about your legal options. While the intention of the property owner may be perfectly honorable, a lawyer can act as a more objective advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights and needs are met.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The statute of limitations varies by state and the type of injury may also play a role. If legal action is not initiated within the specified time period, you lose the right to make any claims. Your best bet is to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the time period applicable for your situation.
How much money can I expect to receive if I file a claim?
The amount of damages varies according to a number of factors – federal and state laws often have caps on the amount of damages. Also, whether or not the property owner acted maliciously could affect whether punitive damages are applied. There is no “set” amount that a premises liability case typically receives, so you should consult an experienced attorney who can advise you on the type and amount of damages that might be expected in your particular case.
Are governmental agencies exempt from premises liability lawsuits?
In general, statutes of limitations and liability laws are often different for governmental agencies and institutions. If you have suffered an injury from an accident within a federal, state or local agency, you should contact an experienced premises liability attorney. He or she can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your specific situation to determine if legal action is an option.