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.
Neighbors to this building described what sounded like a loud explosion right before the nine-year-old apartment building collapsed. According to reports, one neighbor opened the front door of her building to see what was going on, and to quickly shut it to keep out smoke and ashes that began to stream into her hallway. The Chicago Fire Department spokesman described the situation as the whole building being “pancaked.” Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of this collapse, particularly to determine whether it was caused by an explosion.
Our attorneys empathize with the victims of this accident who are suffering very serious and undeserved injuries. It is important to note that at this time, the cause of the collapse is unknown and investigators have not determined if human error or negligence played a role in the accident. However, our attorneys stand by the belief that people should be able to trust that when they when they live in or visit a building they will remain safe from injury. In the past, we have defended the rights of victims who have suffered serious or life changing injuries as a result of negligence of property owners or operators. In one case, we recovered a $2.3 million settlement for a family whose two children suffered severe burns and another infant child died in a fire in a Chicago Housing Authority building. In this case, the CHA allowed rear entrances to the building to become blocked and batteries to be removed from smoke detectors, and they failed to inspect and maintain an electrical outlet. But for this negligence in maintaining the property, this family would not have suffered the injuries and loss of life that they did, and very well could have escaped the fire to safety.
If you have suffered injury or lost a loved one due to the negligence of a landowner, you should seek out a legal professional who can help you determine if you potential cause of action. Through a lawsuit, you may be able to hold the landowner legally accountable and recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, pain and suffering, and other costs you would not have incurred but for negligence leading to an accident. Our law firm offers free consultations, so call us today, and we would be happy to talk to you about your potential lawsuit.