Published on:

Death of a Six Year-Old in a Tragic Apartment Fire Triggers Premise Liability Law

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were saddened to learn of the recent death of a six year-old boy, in a tragic apartment complex fire. According to the Madison St. Clair Record, the boy and his family were living in the apartment building when a fire broke out; the apartment complex failed to have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. As a result, the family of the boy has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the child, claiming that, because of the complex-owners’ negligence, the boy suffered a tragic death.

Illinois premises liability law is a significant branch of Illinois 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 company responsible for maintaining the apartment complex. Additionally, the person or persons on the land of another must be injured by negligence or a different wrongful act; in this particular situation, the apartment managers had a duty to maintain the buildings and ensure that they were properly equipped with fire safety supplies.

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. Here, by failing to have fire extinguishers and working smoke detectors, the property managers created an unsafe condition that led to the boy’s death.

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. Because the boy was only six, damages will not likely be incurred for future lost wages, but his family may be entitled to compensation for having lost time with him, as well as having to experience grief and sorrow.

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers have handled numerous cases and recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for the families of victims wrongfully killed because of someone else’s negligence. In fact, they obtained a $6.0 million settlement for the families of 6 children who died in a tragic apartment fire on Chicago’s north side because the landlords of the building failed to have proper and working smoke detectors in violation of the Chicago Municipal Code and the children were not able to escape the building in time. Additionally, they earned a $2.3 million Chicago fire injury settlement for two boys who were severely burned in a Chicago Housing Authority apartment fire.