Our Illinois personal injury attorneys understand how important it is to fight tirelessly for the rights of the families of victims of wrongful death. Often their hard work and diligence pays off.
On July 1, 2007, 24 year-old Sean Heflin fell from a porch railing at his girlfriend’s house. As a result of the fall, Sean suffered a traumatic brain injury, which ultimately lead to his death in January of 2008. Even more devastating than the untimely death of the young man was the fact that his death could have been avoided had landlords complied with Chicago Building Code requirements.
The lawsuit, filed in January 2008 immediately after Sean’s death, alleged that the porch railings were approximately 10 inches lower than the 42 inches required by Chicago Building Codes. Had the rails been the appropriate height, the lawsuit further alleged, Sean’s fall would have been avoided, and his resulting death would never have occurred.
According to Steve Levin, one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys who handled this case, “the Chicago Building Code requires building owners and landlords to maintain porches in a safe condition. Stammich Management had a duty under the law to maintain its building in a reasonably safe condition for the safety of their tenants and their guests.” As a general rule, owners and managers of rental properties are responsible for maintaining safe premises, and when they do not, they are liable for any injuries that occur on the properties due to their negligence.
On September 12 of this year, the Honorable Judge Kathy Flanagan approved a $975,000 settlement in favor of the victim’s family. The Chicago wrongful death suit was brought against Stammich Management, L.L.C, which owned and managed the apartment building located at 1909 North Bissell Street where Sean fell from the second floor balcony and landed on the concrete below.
Personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death claims serve a number of purposes. They cover the costs of medical expenses incurred as a result of another’s negligence, and they help the families of victims who, but for an accident, would have been able to provide support to his or her family through his or her employment.
But perhaps just as importantly, these types of cases focus attention on potentially dangerous situations, and encourage others to engage in more careful behavior, in the hopes of avoiding future litigation. “We hope that Sean’s case will set an example for other landlords in Chicago, and will motivate them to maintain their properties in accordance with the City Code to prevent future accidents,” said attorney Steve Levin.
Devastatingly, the accidents that give rise to wrongful death cases cannot be predicted. Our Chicago wrongful death attorneys understand the emotional trauma associated with losing a loved one due to another’s negligence, and are equipped with the compassion and understanding needed to guide their clients. If your loved one has been killed in a situation that you believe may be a wrongful death, please contact an attorney immediately to be advised of your rights.