Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo[/caption] Accidents and injuries that happen outside of your own home may implicate issues of premises liability. While premises liability is a complex legal theory, with several nuances, it basically holds property owners – including homeowners, bars, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and sporting venues, among others – liable for accidents and injuries that happen on their property as a result of negligence, failure to warn of a hazard, or other inadequate protection.
Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Common types of premises liability accidents include:
- Slip and fall accidents. Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, resulting in approximately 8.9 million emergency department visits each year. If a slip and fall accident happens on the property of another, the property owner could be liable for the resulting injuries.
- Dog Bites. Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by a dog each year, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), with one in five of these dog bites serious enough to require medical attention. State laws vary regarding liability for dog bites, but in Illinois, dog owners are generally liable for injuries and damages caused by an unprovoked dog.
- Elevator and Escalator Accidents. Elevator and escalator accidents can include: elevator door entrapment, sudden acceleration or deceleration, improper maintenance, or defective parts.
- Stairway Accidents. Stairway accidents can be caused by slippery steps, loose or broken steps, inadequate lighting, or defective railings.
- Swimming Pool Accidents. Swimming pool owners have an obligation to take certain precautions to prevent swimming pool accidents and drowning, such as fencing the area around the pool and providing a lifeguard.
- Car Accidents. Car accidents in a commercial parking lot could involve premises liability if the property owner didn’t provide adequate safety measures or warn motorists of hazards.
Property Owner Obligations and Liability
Property owners and managers have an obligation to maintain a safe property – whether a commercial property or a residential property – but the specific obligations vary depending on the type of property and the relationship between the injured party and property owner. For instance, some states differentiate liability and the standard of care based on whether the injured party was an invitee, social guest, licensee, or trespasser. If the injured party was an invitee – such as a customer – the property owner or manager has the highest duty of care to provide a safe and hazard-free property. On the other hand, property owners have fewer obligations to protect social guests and licensees, and no obligation to protect trespassers. In other states, liability differs based on whether the injured party was on the property legally (invitees, licensees, and social guests) or on the property illegally (trespassers). Property owners and managers have an obligation to provide safe and hazard-free premises for all parties on the property legally, regardless of the specific relationship between the parties, but have no obligation to protect people who are illegally on the property.
Damages for Premises Liability
If a plaintiff proves liability in a premises liability lawsuit, he or she will then need to prove the amount of money damages to which he or she is entitled. Premises liability damages may include compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Household services
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish focus on representing accident and injury victims, including those who were injured in a slip and fall or other accidents involving premises liability. We can help you find the appropriate medical attention, conduct a factual investigation of the accident, file the necessary legal documents, and advocate on your behalf to get you a full and fair personal injury damage award. Contact our office at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago premises liability lawyers. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.