Articles Posted in Building safety

Many Chicagoans likely remember the E2 nightclub tragedy that resulted in the crushing and asphyxiation deaths of 21 people. As a refresher, on February 17, 2003 fights broke out at the club and the club’s security guards began using pepper spray to break up the brawls, causing a panic that resulted in a stampede down the front stairwell to the ground-floor exit. Sadly, the club was dangerously overcrowded and the exits were insufficient for such a rush of people, causing a huge bottleneck at the bottom of the stairs where the 21 people were either trampled or suffocated at death at the bottom. The witnesses stated that the stack of bodies was nearly six feet high. After this tragedy, there was a considerable amount of outrage in the Chicago community. Authorities determined that the crowd was over 1,150 people however the club should have only had 240 people in it.

There are several wrongful death lawsuits still pending ten years later and many of the families of victims are still looking for closure to this horrifying ordeal. The City of Chicago is also continuing to pursue a case against the club’s co-owners despite the fact that the pair has been cleared of wrongdoing twice already. The two men were sentenced to two years in jail in 2009 when they were found guilty of disobeying a city housing court order not to occupy the second floor of the building where the nightclub was located. However they never served this time because an appellate court later overturned the verdict finding that the court order was ambiguous. The case was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court and has yet to be ruled upon.

Victims’ families unsuccessfully sued the city of Chicago in 2008 for botching the rescue effort and failing to enforce the egregious building code violations which ultimately resulted in the overcrowded club and insufficient exits. Despite this setback, many families continue to sue Clear Channel Communications, the entity that employed the DJ who was working the party that night at the E2 nightclub. Many witnesses claim that it was the DJ who instructed the security guard to begin pepper spraying the crowd, which caused the stampede and resulting deaths.

MSNBC reports that, just this morning, more than 50 people were hurt when the floor collapsed during a party at an apartment building. Though fortunately no one was killed in the incident, several of the partygoers suffered serious injuries and had to be taken to area hospitals after the floor’s collapse dropped more than 100 partygoers from the second floor to the first floor.

Although authorities have not yet determined what caused the floor to collapse, if the building gave way as a failure on the part of building management to properly maintain the apartment complex, those in charge of maintenance could potentially be held legally responsible for injuries that occurred as a result of their negligence.

As it would apply to a similar situation in 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 would be 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 building.

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.

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.

According to the Chicago Tribune, one person was severely injured yesterday at the site of a building demolition in the City’s West side. The accident occurred in the Lawndale neighborhood, and initial reports suggest that a porch collapsed on a building on Albany Avenue that was scheduled for destruction.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys are aware of the potential injuries that occur when porches give way, and were concerned to hear that the victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious to critical condition. Details have not yet been released as to the individual’s identity, and it’s not clear as to whether the person was working at the building’s site.

In September of this year, our Chicago personal injury lawyers settled a case with similar circumstances. Attorneys Steven Levin and Michael Bonamarte represented the family of a young man who fell from a porch railing and later died from the injuries he sustained as a result of the accident.

Every so often, a serious carbon monoxide poisoning makes the national news. This week, fifty four individuals received personal injuries after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning during a youth hockey tournament. Several teens, children, and adults were treated for varying degrees of severity of carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily, none of the patients faced life-threatening injuries. Several individuals were released, but a couple of people were held for further treatment.

In situations like this, when an accident or injury occurs to a visitor on another person’s property, the property owner may be held legally responsible, or liable, if the victim can prove that the owner’s negligence led to the personal injury. Injuries on properties can include those from exposure to toxic or hazardous substances such as lead or mold, slip and fall accidents, dog bites or maulings, or drownings. Premises liability plantiffs must prove that the property owners either failed to maintain the property or created unsafe conditions which caused the personal injury, knew about the unsafe hazard but did not alert visitors or tenants to this fact, was not careful concerning unsafe conditions which might attract children, or took actions or neglected conditions that caused damage to a neighboring property.
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A 61 year-old Chicago man died Monday night after falling seven stories down a Chicago elevator shaft. The Chicago injury victim was discovered at the bottom of the shaft. Witnesses saw the man walk into the open elevator on the seventh floor and plummet to his death.

To read more about the Chicago elevator wrongful death.

A Chicago personal injury law firm obtained a substantial verdict last week in a trip and fall lawsuit that occurred near a coin operated merry-go-round at a mall. The rubber edging of the platform caused the personal injury plaintiff to fall due to negligent design, maintenance, or construction. The case was tried in the Cook County Circuit Court.

Nearly twenty-five people went to area hospitals with personal injuries following a fireworks show on Saturday night in Merrillville, Indiana. The bridge collapsed following a structural failure of the footbridge. Luckily, there were no fatalities reported. As many as 150 people may have been on the bridge designed only to hold 40 people.

To read more about the Merrillville bridge collapse.

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