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Tragic Death of 11 Year-Old Girl at Mini-Golf Course May Trigger Premises Liability

In a tragic turn of events, an 11 year-old girl vacationing with her family was electrocuted and died last week while playing miniature golf. A recent report by MSNBC details the fact that, as the young girl tried to retrieve her ball from a small pond on the course, she fell into the 2-foot-deep pool of water and received serious electric shock. Subsequently the local medical examiner’s office confirmed that the cause of death was “electrocution by accident.”

The girl was apparently on vacation with her family just days after her eleventh birthday. After she fell into the shallow water, witnesses said they heard the girl scream out in distress, and another guest tried pulling her out of the water but was injured in the process, says MSNBC. The girl was taken to a local hospital where she later died from electrocution.

Although police are still trying to determine what exactly made the pond water unsafe, this situation presents a classic case of premises liability law, under which a landowner may be held responsible for injuries that occur on his property.

Under Illinois premises liability law, when a business or commercial enterprise invites persons onto the property for the sake of making money – for instance, the mini-golf course in this case was in the business of selling rounds of mini-golf for a profit – the landowner has the duty to inspect the land for potential hazards, and make the property safe for customers who come onto the land.

Illinois premises liability law is an important branch of Illinois personal injury law that allows victims to recover after they have been injured on property under control of another person or company, and the negligence of the property administrator 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, if a wrongful death suit is brought on behalf of the girl’s family, the defendants would be proprietors of the mini-golf course because they were responsible for maintaining the property and ensuring that hazards were not present on the premises. 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 business had a duty to maintain the course, and allegedly failed to do so, causing the unsafe conditions.

Additionally, 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 corporation, such as the mini-golf course business’ failure to maintain a safe environment. In Chicago wrongful death cases, family members can file claims 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, as well as having to experience grief and sorrow as a result of losing a loved one.

This is an extremely tragic situation, and the thoughts of our Chicago wrongful death attorneys are with the family of the young girl.