April 3, 2012

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Woman Falls at Soldier's Funeral

by Levin & Perconti

The circumstances almost sound too tragic to be true. However, devastatingly, they are not.

A recently-widowed man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the government and a corporation responsible for managing a public school after his wife suffered a deadly fall while paying her respects at the funeral of a fallen soldier.

The victim’s sister reports that the woman had walked across the stage at the school in which the funeral was being held, in order to speak to the soldier’s mother. She fell into the pit area in front of the stage, and suffered serious internal injuries from which she ultimately died during hospitalization.

Illinois premises liability law is a significant branch of personal injury law that allows victims to recover after they have been injured on another person’s property, and the negligence of the property owner was the cause of that harm. In order to apply to a set of circumstances, premises liability law requires a number of factors to be satisfied: the defendant must be the owner or possessor of the land, or “premises." In this case, the defendants are the government - in that it owns the school - and the company responsible for managing the school and its premises.

Additionally, the requirements state that the person or persons on the land of another must be injured by negligence or a different wrongful act. Illinois premises liability law may be triggered if it can be shown that the property owners or managers either failed to maintain the property, created unsafe conditions that caused the injury, or knew about the unsafe hazard but didn't alert visitors or tenants to this fact; in this particular situation, the lawsuit claims that the defendants failed to provide adequate lighting at the funeral service, failed to warn visitors of foreseeable dangers, failed to rope off the stage to prevent falls, and failed to provide adequate personnel to supervise and direct visitors. Here, the claim asserts, the woman’s death was a proximate result of this negligence.

Under Illinois law, wrongful death is the legal concept that arises when a person’s death has been caused by the fault or negligence of another person or business. In cases of wrongful death such as this one, family members and loved ones of the decedent can file a claim to potentially make the wrongdoer pay damages for things such as the loss of companionship, monetary damages to cover the earnings the deceased person would have provided, and expenses associated with the death such as funeral and burial costs.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have handled numerous premises liability cases and understand what it takes to succeed in even the most complicated cases of landowner liability. In fact, our attorneys won a $510,000 settlement against a restaurant which caused patrons to wait in area too close to steps leading to downstairs banquet area, leading to our client’s fall down the stairs that resulted in a fractured hip and foot.

If you or a loved one has been injured on another’s property as a result of the property owner’s negligence, contact an attorney to be apprised of your rights under the law.