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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against School for Failing to Secure Abandoned Building

The term “attractive nuisance” doesn’t just apply to your buddy’s girlfriend.

Under Illinois personal injury law, the doctrine of attractive nuisance holds that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to minors who are trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who may not be able to fully appreciate the risk posed by the condition.

In practical application, the standard has been used to hold landowners responsible for injuries arising in connection swimming pools, trampolines, piles of lumber, and other objects that may be inviting to children. In order to properly hold the landowner liable for damages to an injured child or minor trespasser, it is important that the landowner knows or has reason to know that minors are likely to trespass, and that, by not curing the condition on the land, there is an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to the trespassing children. In these types of situations, if the landowner fails to reasonably act to eliminate the danger or otherwise to protect the children, he or she may be liable if minors are injured while trespassing on the property.

This legal doctrine may just be the key to helping the family of a teen achieve justice after the young man entered the boarded-up old Ravenswood Hospital building on Chicago’s North Side and died when he fell two stories through a hole in the floor. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the boy suffered internal injuries and head injuries, and was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1 p.m.

Apparently the Ravenswood Hospital has been vacant since the 1990s, but the property is now owned by Lycee Francais de Chicago (The French International School), which plans to demolish the complex and build a 90,000-square-foot school in its place, says the Sun Times.

The Chicago wrongful death lawsuit filed by the teen’s father claims that the school failed to maintain the building in a safe condition, and didn’t do enough to prevent people from getting inside. In fact, the Sun Times reports that inspectors from the city’s Department of Buildings inspected the building after the boy fell and determined it hadn’t been securely maintained.

Adding further support to the victim’s family’s Illinois wrongful death claim is the fact that the city received a complaint about the building last December and issued a violation notice then to Lycee Francais, ordering the school to secure the site. This, in particular, points to the fact that the school either knew or should have known of the potential for danger, and should have taken reasonable steps to remedy the situation before injuries occurred.

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers have handled numerous cases and recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for the families of victims wrongfully injured or killed because of someone else’s negligence. In fact, they obtained a $6.0 million settlement for the families of 6 children who died in a tragic apartment fire on Chicago’s north side because the landlords of the building failed to have proper and working smoke detectors in violation of the Chicago Municipal Code and the children were not able to escape the building in time. Additionally, they earned a $2.3 million Chicago fire injury settlement for two boys who were severely burned in a Chicago Housing Authority apartment fire.

If you or a loved one have been injured on the land of another because of the landowner’s negligence, contact an attorney to discuss your rights under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.