Articles Posted in Land Owner liability

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Workplace accidents, especially those that occur in work environments that are not inherently dangerous, are all too common and tragic. They are particularly tragic because there is a common theme among these accidents of preventability. Oftentimes, these accidents occur because of the negligence of a party in charge or with some authority. In these instances, but for the negligence, the danger would have never been present and the accident never would have occurred.

Common forms of negligence in the workplace can widely vary. One example is when business operators fail to perform proper inspections of the premises. Such inspections can make business owners and operators aware of unsafe conditions and put them on notice to fix these dangers. However, a business owner cannot be willfully blind to the fact that dangerous conditions could exist but fail to attempt to discover these conditions by not having an inspection performed. Another example is when a business owner is fully aware of safe procedures to implement in the workplace but fails to require that these guidelines be followed. Lastly, a business owner may be fully aware of a dangerous condition on the premises, but neglect to attend to and fix the danger, ignore it, and continue to allow it to pose harm to others.

According to an article by Komo News, a barista died in a coffee shop explosion. The article reports that the flames overtook the shop so quickly that the barista had no chance to escape. She suffered extensive burns, which were ultimately the cause of her death. The victim had two children, who unfortunately lost their mother as a result of the accident.
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People in the Midwest know that our summer storms are no laughing matter and can often be very dangerous. These are not the types of soft rains you see in movies where someone curls up with a coffee and good book. These are the types of storms that often consist of such high winds, torrential downpours, and lightning, that people need to seek emergency shelter for extended periods of time. At times, these storms escalate to dangerous levels so quickly that people do not have time to travel to the safest location, such as a basement. When this occurs, and where people are still out in the open outside, they can be at serious risk for injury or death.

Unfortunately, such was the case in a recent accident in the Chicago suburbs at a local festival, according to Fox News. More than a dozen people were injured, and a man was killed, during a recent severe storm. When a storm ensued, people sought shelter in a tent. The storm then blew off the tent’s moorings, causing it to collapse on some of the crowd at the suburban festival. According to the deputy police chief of Wood Dale, three people suffered serious injuries, and fifteen people required hospital treatment. The fatality was a young 35-year-old Wood Dale resident.

The sudden storm took people by surprise as it brought on high winds, hail, and rain to the Prairie Fest. One individual witnessed the storm move in and the winds blow the tent up into the air and then land. When the tarp landed on people, emergency responders had to come to the rescue by cutting holes to get people out.
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Summertime is in full swing in Chicagoland, and what better way to beat the heat than hitting your local parks and pools. It is a common sight to see the children of the greater Chicago area playing in local fountains like Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park, but especially kicking back and spending the day at local pools with family and friends. Both Chicago and the surrounding suburbs are filled with many recreational swimming pools for exercise, leisure, and fun. However, since these locations are popular spots for summer fun, they can often become very crowded as well. With increased popularity, this means these locations need to maintain extra vigilance and enforce safety procedure, as they are legally responsible for their guests under premises liability law.

Negligence by pool owners and operators happens far too often. As a result, members of our Chicagoland community, particularly young ones, can suffer serious personal injuries and even death from drowning. According to a recent report by the Chicago Tribune, a young girl is recovering after a near drowning at a Warrenville Lifetime Fitness pool. The four-year-old girl was found unresponsive at the bottom of the fitness center pool. Fortunately she is now able to answer questions and recall her family members and pets, according to the Warrenville Fire Protection. At the time of the incident, firefighters responded to a call of a drowning victim at the health club, and she was not breathing. The firefighters immediately began trying to resuscitate the girl through CPR and suctioning water out of her airway. What is alarming is that this near drowning occurred during open swim while lifeguards were on duty.
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Summertime is a favorite season for many Chicagoans. After our notorious cold and harsh winters, we gladly embrace the summer warmth and pleasant temperatures. Chicago citizens tend to flock to outdoor activities throughout the city, from festivals to the lakefront paths and especially neighborhood barbecues. However, when the places we go to relax with friends and family are unsafe, summertime fun can quickly turn dangerous, putting our loved ones in harm’s way.

According to a recent article by ABC 7, an upper level deck in Evanston collapsed, injuring several people. According to building inspectors, the porch was not properly attached to the home. The inspectors further stated that when porch collapses like these occur, they normally occur where the deck meets the house, which is what happened in this incident at hand. According to one building inspector, the deck was not properly adhered to the structure.

The incident occurred in Evanston in the 1900-block of Darrow Avenue on Memorial Day. Several people were on the second-floor porch when it gave way and fell down to the first floor. One of the seven victims described how she heard a cracking, and the floor suddenly dropped. She elaborated that no one had any time to grab onto anything. She was knocked unconscious from the fall and then awoke finding cuts to her head and an injured knee. Another victim described how the porch suddenly collapsed and everyone fell on top of one another, with debris from the porch, including a hot grill, falling on top of them too. The family said their landlord had told them that he was going to fix their deck.
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Chicago residents know that our city often has very intense weather, which can even switch between extremes in one season. Our winters are cold and snowy, and our summers can really heat up. At some times, we can even see both of these weather patterns in the same month. If you are the owner or operator of a restaurant, shop or other public space in Chicago, you should know to expect the unexpected with weather and to be prepared. This can mean having salt and shovels on hand for snowy days or mats available during a hard rain to provide a surface with traction. While the temperatures may be sunny and pleasant one day this can always change the next. What does not change though, is the duty that owners owe to visitors and customers to provide safe premises where they will not be exposed to dangers that may cause them injury.

A recent report by the Cook County Record reports that a patron filed suit against a Chicago restaurant for a 2013 slip and fall accident. The patron is alleging premises liability in her suit, which she filed last month in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges the defendant sprayed water on the pavement, which created an unsafe condition and/or unnatural accumulation of snow and ice that caused her to fall and sustain injuries. In her complaint, she argues that this condition was unapparent to her and that the defendants were aware of the hazard, failed to remedy it, and increased the probability that pedestrians and patrons would fall and suffer injury. The plaintiff is alleging personal pecuniary and permanent damage, and seeks compensation in excess of $50,000.
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When we walk around the city of Chicago, we expect that we are reasonably safe. We definitely don’t expect to suddenly fall into a manhole, a piano to be dropped from a forklift, or for things to fall from the sky like a scene from a cartoon or movie. However, when people are negligent or reckless, strange and dangerous things do happen.

A recent post by the Cook County Record for instance, explains how a father is suing a Chicago landlord after an air conditioning unit cover fell and struck his daughter. The father argues that the landlord was negligent by failing to fix and repair the air conditioning unit cover or warn him of the dangerous condition.

Our attorneys stress that under premises liability law, a landowner or landlord owes a legal duty of care to those on the land or premises, such as tenants. This legal duty includes the duty to inspect the land for dangers, remedy known dangers, and to warn those on the land of known dangers. When such an accident occurs to someone living on the property, the landowner may be liable if the plaintiff can prove that the landowner’s negligence led to the injury. Often the plaintiff must show that the landowner failed to maintain the property or created the unsafe condition that was the cause of the injury.
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Most of our readers are aware that Chicago has had a lot of snow this winter in a short period of time. With so much snowfall at once, our neighborhoods have a high accumulation of snow sitting on the ground surrounding our homes, businesses, and sidewalks. As the snow melts, sitting water can accumulate or even refreeze into ice. This can occur whether from weathering increase in temperature or when accumulated snow and water is brought inside stores from consumers.

Business owners have a legal duty to keep their patrons safe from hazards and dangers under premises liability law. As consumers who enter stores with the intention to potentially do business with a store, they have the ability to benefit the store through their purchases. This is why under tort law, customers are referred to as invitees and are afforded the highest protection on commercial premises. Landowners of these premises owe invitees a duty of care to inspect premises for dangers, warn of these dangers, and remedy these dangers as quickly as possible. Where an invitee suffers injury from a hazard on a business owner’s property, the injured person can hold the business and owner liable in a personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a customer has filed suit against a Cook County Walmart for a slip and fall accident suffered last January. The plaintiff claims that Walmart failed to maintain the store premises, which caused her to slip and fall over a weather mat. The victim filed suit a few weeks ago in Cook County Circuit Court against the Walmart at 167th Street in Country Club Hills. The plaintiff slipped and fell on wet weather mats, causing her injury. She argues that Walmart and its employees failed to maintain the premises by not ensuring the mats were in a reasonably safe condition and failed to warn her about the dangerous condition. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages.
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Many Chicagoans dread winter for its bitter temperatures, slippery sidewalks, the need to bundle up extensively, and the dangerous roads and backed up traffic from inclement weather. However, to others, especially our youngest members of the community, winter can be a lot of fun and a time for recreation. As you may remember from your own childhood days, children look forward to snowfall for fun and play, especially for activities like building snowmen, snowball fights, and sledding.

While winter games and activities can be a lot of fun, people sometimes do not consider the dangers and legal consequences. Our attorneys make an effort to always keep on top of local issues and safety concerns, and to relay that knowledge back to our community. That is why the media recently turned to one of our attorneys to discuss the dangers and legal repercussions associated with sledding accidents.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mike Bonamarte, discussed sledding accidents. In recent months many local governments, including those in Illinois, have banned sledding in public parks and properties due to the dangers and risk for injuries, such as when a child’s sled collides with a tree, street sign, hidden obstacle or vehicle on municipal property. However, the report notes that the City of Chicago is unlikely to join in on this ban and representatives continually echo the warning that sledding is at one’s own risk. Additionally, state immunity laws protect local governments from liability on most public property.
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Our Chicago attorneys make it our priority to stay on top of important issues regarding the law and safety of our community and to educate the public on legal issues relevant to them in their daily lives. Recently, Fox News reached out to us to tackle questions related to snow and ice removal related to potential premises liability litigation.

Snowy and bitter cold winters come as no surprise to Chicagoans. Our city is notorious for its harsh winters and large accumulation of snow. With so much snow, residents have a duty to shovel their driveways and sidewalks to keep the snow cleared. What many residents may not consider though, are the legal considerations regarding snow removal and shoveling.

In the report featuring attorney Marvet Sweis from our office, MyFoxChicago discussed how residents risk getting a fine or getting sued for failing to remove snow and ice from their premises in a timely manner. Many people think not shoveling their sidewalks will save them from liability if someone slips and falls in front of their home. However, Ms. Sweis relayed that isn’t the case due in part to Illinois law. She explained how the law protects residents when they shovel their driveway and sidewalk because the law recognizes that people want to be able to get in and out of their own property. Instead, homeowners can be sued only where negligent.
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One of the things Chicagoans joke about most is the two seasons in the city: winter and construction. Aside from our cold and brutal winters, it seems that the streets and sidewalks are always under repairs of some sorts. However, when people look at this joke more deeply, they realize that there is a safety and legal issue present. If sidewalks and streets are not in good condition, they can pose a hazard to the safety of pedestrians in the city.

One recent case exemplifies just that. According to the Cook County Record, a pedestrian has brought suit against the City of Chicago over a fall she suffered when walking in an intersection in the Near North Side neighborhood. According to the pedestrian’s complaint, she was walking through the crosswalk at the intersection of North Wabash Avenue and Huron Street last spring when she tripped and fell on uneven ground. She argues that the city negligently failed to repair the uneven section of the crosswalk because it was cracked and broken. By allowing it to remain in a dangerous condition and by not warning the pedestrians of its existence, she asserts this caused her fall.
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