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Devastating Apartment Fire Kills Family – Landlord’s Failure to Equip the Building with Smoke Detectors to Blame

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Unfortunately, however, that chain of logic can’t provide much help if the smoke isn’t detected in time. Tragically, that’s exactly what happened in a recent situation in which two children, ages 5 and 6, and their mother were killed as a result of injuries sustained in an apartment fire.

According to the Madison St. Clair Record, an administrator on behalf of the mother of the two deceased children has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the landlord, claiming that a faulty stove, electrical and gas line problems and missing or malfunctioning smoke detectors were to blame for causing the fire.

The complaint alleges that the three-unit apartment building had previously been a single-family home, but that the owner of the property had split the building into three apartments. In order to convert the house into apartments, electrical and gas lines were installed and appliances were added to create kitchens and bathrooms in rooms that had previously been living areas, reported the Madison St. Clair Record.

Illinois premises liability law is a 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 owner of the property had the responsibility of meeting building code requirements, including specifications for working smoke detectors. Additionally, 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. Here, by failing to have working smoke detectors, the property managers created an unsafe condition that led to the family’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 decedents 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.

Additionally, the administrator of the family’s estate who lived in the same building as the deceased family at the time of the fire says that she suffered smoke inhalation during the fire and endured pain, suffering, and disfigurement.

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.