Articles Posted in Land Owner liability

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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When we visit a a restaurant, retail store, supermarket, drugstore, etc., we have a special legal status under tort law known as an “invitee.” Under this status, owners and operators of premises owe us a duty of care to prevent injury to visitors by maintaining the premises in a safe condition, not creating hazards, and timely remedying any known hazards. Failure to do so that results in injury can give rise to a victim bringing a premises liability lawsuit. In fact, a visitor to a business is owed this duty of care regardless of whether or not they make a purchase, but are owed this duty because they have the potential to make a purchase.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing Northwestern Hospital and Au Bon Pain in a premises liability lawsuit for injuries she sustained while in the Au Bon Pain restaurant located inside the hospital. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was hit by a woman’s motor scooter while visiting the hospital. The lawsuit alleged that a hospital staff member was negligent for guiding the woman’s scooter into her leg. She further alleges that the hospital and Au Bon Pain violated the safe capacity number of persons allowed inside the café at a time. The plaintiff filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court and seeks damages in excess of $50,000.
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There are times we see news articles about local tragedies and wonder how in the world such an incident could have happened. The simple answer is that many of these incidents, tragedies, and accidents should never happen and they could be preventable. Many of these troubling situations would never occurred but for the negligence of someone who owes a legal duty to others to prevent the exact type of accident that occurred.

One type of accident commonly associated with preventable negligence falls under the umbrella of premises liability law. To elaborate, when a tenant or visitor is seriously injured in an accident on another person’s property, the owner can be held legally responsible if proven in a lawsuit that it was the owner’s negligence that led to the injury. For example, some common injuries occurring on property can include slip and fall accidents, dog bites, swimming pool drownings, and exposure to hazardous substances like lead or mold. In such lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the landowner knew the conditions on the land were unsafe and did not alert others to these dangers, failed to maintain the property and let it decline into a dangerous state, or created a hazard that caused injury.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that two women were injured in a building collapse in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood. The three-story condominium apartment building collapsed, entrapping the two women and a dog. One of the victims was on the third floor, and the other was on the second floor at the time of the collapse. Both victims were in serious to critical condition and transported to local hospitals. The building, built in 2005, received a citation for building code violations last year, but none were related to explosion hazards.
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There are many favorite American pastimes, and one that has seemed to continually gain popularity is visiting amusement parks. While the ferris wheels of yester year still exist and are an enjoyable tradition, the amusement parks of today often consist of thrilling rides to quench the thirst of the adrenaline seeker. However, as American amusement park rides get bigger and better, so must the safety standards that go with them. These two things – a terrifying coaster and adhering to safety – must coincide.

The law of premises liability includes amusement and theme parks. Because the guests of these parks are paying patrons, known under tort law as invitees, they must be afforded the utmost care by the landowners and operators. Under the legal duty owed to invitees, landowners and operators must routinely inspect the grounds for known dangers, remedy any discovered dangers in a timely manner, and make invitees aware of any known dangers. Where an invitee is injured on the ground due to a danger that should have been known of or already fixed, then the amusement park can be held liable for negligence in a lawsuit. The plaintiff must then prove that their injuries and suffering were the result of negligence by the park where as a patron they should have been warned about the danger, or the danger should have been discovered by the park and fixed.

According to recent news by KTLA 5 a Six Flags Magic Mountain rollercoaster, known as Colossus, caught fire and collapsed. The roller coaster had been closed for renovation and was being worked on by crews at the time of the fire who were using heat equipment. No injuries from smoke and falling debris have yet been reported, and the accident is still under investigation. Photos from the accident show a pillar of smoke rising from the peak, the highest point in the ride. Portions of the rollercoaster were charred black, and planks of began to fall to the ground below, and then eventually part of the track collapsed.
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Your local drugstore or pharmacy is more likely than not often busy. That is because these establishments are venues that provide vital needs of all sorts for the majority of people. Chances are that you have visited a drugstore establishment recently. Whether to have a prescription filled, purchase vitamins, or get a bottle of shampoo, drugstores fulfill needs by providing products and medicines that we all need at some point or another.

Because these stores are frequent stops for many people, they should be safe and free from dangers when we visit them. As you may know, the law of premises liability law tells us that when a store fails to keep its store safe for customers and an injury results, they can be held liable for personal injuries in a premises liability lawsuit. Landowners, especially commercial entities whose visitors make purchases on their property, are liable to their visitors and have a legal duty to keep them safe from harm. Under this duty, the owners and operators must consistently maintain the premises and routinely check for dangers, remedy all known dangers in a timely manner, and warn the customers of any known dangers. Where the business fails in any of these regards and a customer is injured, that business is responsible.
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While growing up, chances are that you saw a cartoon where a character was walking along and slipped on a banana peel. However you may have not realized that these cartoons were comically presenting a real issue of the law: premises liability. The banana peel that you saw your favorite character slip on was actually a hazard that a landowner should have known about, fixed, or warned visitors about. While these accidents appear funny in cartoon, unfortunately in real life slip and fall accidents can leave victims with serious personal injuries.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing the Chicago Cubs after she experienced a slip and fall accident in a Wrigley Field bathroom. She filed a premises liability lawsuit this month in Cook County Circuit Court. The complaint describes how she was in a bathroom on the main level when she slipped in a puddle of water that was on the floor and became injured. The complaint accuses the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club LLC of failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The plaintiff seeks over $50,000 in damages.

Slip and fall accidents are common claims in premises liability lawsuits. Landowners, particularly in this instance owners and operators of commercial property, have a legal duty of care to those on the premises to keep them safe and not cause injury. When a visitor to commercial property suffers injury, such as through a slip and fall accident, the property owner may be held liable through a premises liability lawsuit. In a premises liability lawsuit the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that injury was caused by the property owner failing to maintain property, that the property owner caused an unsafe condition, or that the property owner knew about the hazard on the premises but failed to warn those on the property. If the landowner’s negligence in remedying or inspecting for the dangers led to injuries, they can be held liable as it was their duty to provide safe premises and keep invitees free from danger and injury.
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When going to our place of employment, we have the right to expect and trust that our work environment is a safe place to conduct business. Whether in a manual labor job or a desk job, all workers deserve to work in safe place where they will be free from harm or injury. This means employers are to inspect premises for dangers and repair them, provide necessary equipment to keep employees safe, have standards of safety that those in the organization are to adhere to, and warn employees of any known dangers. When an employer fails to provide a safe work environment and injury results to an employee, that individual may be able to hold the employer liable for the worksite accident in a premises liability lawsuit.

In the southern Illinois town of Granite City, two people are dead and several have been injured in a recycling plant explosion where over 160 people work, according to news by CBS. At Totall Metal Recycling a mortar shell exploded causing injuries and death. Authorities are not allowing anyone near the scene of the explosion at this time for risk of another explosion if more mortar shells happen to be inside the plant. According to the website of the plant, they recycle all types of metals from computers to even motor vehicles. They also frequently deal with the ammunition industry.

As premises liability law dictates, a landowner must prevent injury to others by inspecting the premises for dangers, fixing any discovered and known dangers, and warning those on the premises of known dangers and hazards. Because the website stated that they frequently deal with the ammunition industry, this begs the question of whether the company should have had the knowledge to know that active explosives could enter the plant, detonate, and harm employees. If so, perhaps the company should have inspected for such dangers and remedied the danger upon inspection. While the explosion is still under investigation, it worth deliberating that if inspection for such a hazard had been conducted, that death and injury to employees would not have occurred.
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