Articles Posted in Land Owner liability

Published on:

halloween safety

Trick-or-Treat: The Scary Truth About Halloween Injuries

Many Halloween traditions involve pumpkins, apple cider, and even a scary hayride, but we are going to bet there will be some neighborhood trick-or-treating involved too. And for the more than 41.1 million trick-or-treaters, the majority children ages 5 to 14, who hit U.S. doorsteps in 2017 requesting a Halloween treat, many injuries followed. This year, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, especially those with young families of their own including Mike Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black, Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, Colleen Mixan Mikaitis, AJ Thut, Jaime Koziol Delaney, and Pam Dimo thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways our blog readers can protect children from injury while trick-or-treating this Halloween night.

  1. Be Seen
Published on:

In an audit released late last month, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that a southern Illinois housing authority failed to test for and safely remedy lead-based paint, while also allowing residents to live in units with little heat, and mold, rat, and roach infestations. The agency’s own investigative division also said that HUD has been aware of the problems since 2010 and failed to intervene for fear of bringing unwanted attention upon themselves.

With 109 housing authorities in the state of Illinois and HUD’s own inspector general calling out their inadequacy, many are wondering whom else the agency is failing to protect.

Housing Authority Discriminated Against Black Residents, Employees

Published on:

Earlier this month, a woman was awarded $500K by a Georgia jury who found that the homeowner was liable for a deck collapse that caused the woman to break her leg in two places. The woman, Monica Conover, was a party guest at the rented property in 2014. The homeowner, Tyson Martin, was found 85% responsible, while the tenants hosting the party were found to be 15% liable.

The deck was said to be over 30 years old and photos taken prior to Mr. Martin purchasing the home showed that he had since repaired certain parts of the deck, indicating that he was aware of the deck’s structural problems. A contractor who came in after the collapse to repair the damage said that the deck was not properly secured to the house and that much of the wood was rotten. Ms. Conover’s attorney quoted the contractor’s testimony, saying that “He said that deck was completely unsafe and that, had a qualified person… inspected it, there’s no way he would’ve let anybody go out there. No way.” Conover’s attorney also asked the jury “Is it reasonable for a landlord to inspect a deck that is 35 years old before they rent it out? And you all get to make that decision.”

Deck and Porch Collapses – Do You Have a Reason to Sue?

Published on:

After less than a day of deliberation, a Chicago jury awarded Tierney Darden $148 million for a shelter collapse outside O’Hare Airport that ripped her spinal cord in half, leaving her permanently paralyzed from the waist down and in constant pain.

In August 2015, Tierney, her mother, and sister had just returned to Chicago after traveling to Minneapolis to pick out a wedding dress for her sister. The three were waiting outside O’Hare under one of several pedestrian shelters found at the airport. A storm caused the shelter to suddenly collapse, trapping Tierney, now 26. After the accident, CBS 2 investigators found corroded parts and missing bolts and screws in not only the shelter that collapsed, but in nearly all others. The discovery and exposure forced O’Hare to remove all pedestrian shelters.

Tierney, a former dancer at Truman College, told CBS 2 of the accident “I hate it. I hate that I have to wake up every day and see it.”

Published on:

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.
Continue reading

Published on:

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.
Continue reading

Published on:

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.
Continue reading

Published on:

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.
Continue reading

Published on:

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.
Continue reading

Published on:

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.
Continue reading