The premises liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane handle a range of cases related top injuries on dangerous premises, including negligent security, slip and fall accidents, parking lot accidents, swimming pool accidents, and more.
Our premises liability attorneys help clients who have been injured on residential, commercial, and government properties, including:
- Private homes
- Apartments and condos
- Municipal and state properties
- Schools, colleges, and universities
- Public parks and recreation areas
- Office buildings
- Swimming pools and water parks
- Hotels, resorts, and amusement parks
- Bars and restaurants
- Parking lots, garages, and parking structures
- Retail stores and shopping malls
- And more
Coplan + Crane has extensive knowledge of premises liability law. We know how injuries sustained on a dangerous property can forever affect a person’s life. We know the hardships victims face when property owners fail to maintain and secure their premises. Our premises liability lawyers work hard to hold property owners accountable for negligence and recover maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.
Contact Coplan + Crane today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a FREE case evaluation. Our premises liability attorneys serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and more.
What Is the Property Owner’s Duty?
Property owners have different levels of responsibility for people’s safety on their property, depending on why the person is there. The law sees three types of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers, and each has a different level of protection.
An invitee is someone who comes to the property for business reasons. Property owners must take the most care for these visitors. They need to fix any dangers they know about and check for ones they might not know about.
On the other hand, a licensee is someone who visits for social reasons. Property owners don’t have to do as much for social guests compared to business visitors. They just need to make sure their property doesn’t have any known dangers and that it’s reasonably safe. They don’t have to search for unknown dangers.
The least responsibility is for trespassers, who enter without permission. Property owners don’t really have to ensure their safety. They can’t deliberately hurt trespassers but aren’t required to keep them safe. However, if children trespass, especially if they’re drawn to something like a pool, the owner must take steps to protect them since kids might not understand property boundaries or dangers.
Premises liability laws can be complex. The premises liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane can explain your rights and legal options if you have been hurt on a dangerous property. Call us now for a FREE case review.
Proving Negligence in a Premises Liability Claim
Premises liability lawyers must prove negligence to recover losses for their clients. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to a person or property. To prove negligence, several criteria must be met:
1. Duty of Care
First, it’s necessary to prove that one person had a responsibility toward another, also known as a “duty of care”. This responsibility can vary based on the relationship between the people involved. Generally, people are expected to exercise “ordinary care” towards others. However, a child’s actions are judged against what another child might do in the same situation, rather than an adult’s actions. Similarly, professionals and tradespeople are judged by a higher standard – what others in their field would do under similar circumstances.
2. Breach of Duty
Second, it must be shown that there was a breach of that standard of care. In other words, someone failed to do what they should have under the circumstances in light of the duty owed from one person to another.
Third, it must be shown that the breach of that standard of care was the actual and “proximate”, or legal, cause of the injury. This means that the injury was the foreseeable consequence of the breach of care.
Lastly, damages must be shown to have resulted from all of the above.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents happen far more often than many people might even realize. Every year, millions of people sustain serious enough injuries to require medical attention, especially victims age 65 and over.
Falls are responsible for more than 8 million visits to hospital emergency rooms, making them the primary reason for such visits at 21.3%. Out of these, slips and falls comprise over 1 million of the total, accounting for 12% of all falls.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents:
Slip and fall accidents are common occurrences and can happen in a variety of settings. Some of the most common causes include:
- Wet and Uneven Surfaces: Wet floors, whether from spills, cleaning, or weather conditions are a primary cause of slip and fall accidents. Uneven surfaces, such as poorly maintained sidewalks, loose floorboards, or potholes, can also lead to falls.
- Snowy or Icey Walkways: Ice, snow, and rain can make outdoor surfaces slippery and dangerous. Accumulation of ice and snow, particularly in parking lots, walkways, and building entrances, is a significant risk factor.
- Poor Lighting: Inadequate lighting in hallways, staircases, and outdoor areas can prevent people from seeing obstacles or changes in the walking surface, leading to falls.
- Lack of Warning Signs: Failure to post signs warning of potential hazards, like wet floors or construction areas, can result in accidents.
- Cluttered or Obstructed Walkways: Areas cluttered with objects, such as tools, boxes, or other debris, can cause people to trip and fall.
- Lack of Handrails or Guardrails: Absence of handrails on stairways and guardrails on elevated areas can lead to falls, especially in situations where balance is compromised.
- Loose or Torn Carpets: Carpets or rugs that are not properly secured or that are torn can catch on shoes or feet, causing trips.
- Poorly Maintained Staircases: Stairs that are uneven, have loose steps, or lack proper tread can be a hazard.
When such property accidents happen because of someone else’s reckless behavior, the negligent individuals and businesses need to be held accountable. In Illinois and Chicago, slip and fall lawyers at Coplan + Crane have been helping injury victims for years with their problems. We have a strong track record for obtaining large settlements for slip and fall victims. Case results matter here. This money serves a vital purpose: helping injury victims cover the expenses associated with their injury. Someone else did something to cause your fall. They should be the ones paying your bills.
Many slip and fall accidents can be traced back to someone’s negligent actions. A janitor fails to clean up a wet floor in a supermarket or airport terminal. A shopping mall has an unmarked hazard in a dark, parking lot stairwell. Construction site hazards on a busy sidewalk are not clearly marked.
Sidewalks, hallways, vacant lots, and other public and private places need to be well maintained. People should reasonably expect that they can walk somewhere and not be mugged, attacked or sexually assaulted. When they are, the owner of the property needs to be held accountable for negligent security.
How Can Negligent Security Contribute to an Injury?
An injury due to negligent security may include any of the following contributing factors:
- Inadequate Lighting: Poor lighting in areas like parking lots and stairwells creates opportunities for criminal activity.
- Lack of Security Personnel: Absence of security guards in high-risk areas can lead to harmful incidents.
- Faulty Security Equipment: Non-functional security cameras or alarms can allow criminal activities such as break-ins.
- Failure to Respond to Known Dangers: Ignoring known criminal activities around a property without enhancing security measures.
- Inadequate Emergency Response Plans: Not having clear emergency procedures or untrained staff for security threats.
- Poorly Trained Security Staff: Security personnel unprepared for various potential criminal situations.
- Lack of Surveillance: Absence of surveillance systems in expected areas, leading to unchecked criminal activities.
- Failure to Secure Access Points: Unlocked or broken gates and doors allowing intruders to enter.
- Neglecting Tenant or Guest Complaints: Ignoring complaints about security issues and not addressing them promptly.
- Malfunctioning Room Locks in a Hotel: Hotel room locks that are broken or unreliable can leave guests vulnerable to theft, intrusion, or assault.
- Unsecure Boundary Fencing: Inadequate fencing around a property’s perimeter, especially in areas with known security risks, can allow easy access for intruders and pose a threat to the safety of those inside.
Negligent security cases can be especially complicated. The main issue is the property owner will often deny any wrongdoing. They will insist the property is safe, that they did nothing to cause your injury.
The Chicago negligent security lawyers at Coplan + Crane have handled many complicated cases involving property accidents. We know the tactics used by negligent property owners and their legal teams. We will fight diligently to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve under the law.
Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lots in Chicago and throughout Illinois can be dangerous places. In an instant, someone can slip, fall, and sustain a serious injury. Pedestrians can be struck by vehicles. Car accidents can also happen between two moving vehicles or a moving car and a parked car. Whatever the scenario, many people often get hurt, resulting in serious property accidents that can have a significant financial impact.
Common Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lot accidents in the context of premises liability can encompass a range of incidents where the design, maintenance, or management of the parking area contributes to an injury or accident. Here are some common examples:
- Slip and Fall Accidents: These can occur due to ice, snow, oil spills, or other slippery substances left unattended in the parking lot. Uneven pavement, potholes, or debris can also cause tripping hazards.
- Vehicle Collisions: Accidents involving vehicles can be due to poorly designed traffic flow, lack of proper signage, unclear or faded lane markings, or insufficient lighting that leads to reduced visibility.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians in parking lots can be hit by vehicles, especially in lots with poor layouts, inadequate pedestrian walkways, or insufficient lighting.
- Criminal Activity: Assaults, robberies, or vehicle break-ins can occur if the parking lot lacks adequate security measures like lighting, surveillance cameras, or security patrols, especially in areas known for high crime rates.
- Falling Debris: In multi-level parking structures, individuals can be injured by falling objects or debris due to poor maintenance or structural issues.
- Accidents Due to Poor Maintenance: This includes issues like malfunctioning parking gates or barriers, or electrical accidents from exposed wiring or faulty lighting fixtures.
- Inadequate Handicap Accessibility: Failure to provide appropriate parking spaces, access ramps, or other accommodations for disabled individuals can lead to accidents or injuries.
- Improper Signage: Lack of proper directional signs, speed limit postings, or warnings about potential hazards can contribute to accidents.
- Damaged Protective Barriers: Broken or absent wheel stops, guardrails, or barriers can lead to vehicles accidentally driving over edges or into restricted areas, causing accidents.
- Incidents in Drop-off or Pick-up Zones: Confusion or congestion in these areas, especially if poorly designed or managed, can lead to accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians.
Oak Park parking lot injury lawyers at Coplan + Crane have handled a variety of complex premises liability cases. We know how to build a solid case and how to go about getting people the compensation they rightfully deserve. If the owners of the parking lot failed to have the facility properly lighted or did not take other safety precautions, they should be held accountable. They made a mistake. You should not have to pay the bill.
Many people often underestimate the true cost of parking lot injuries. It’s not just the short-term medical bills associated with being injured in a parking lot. It’s the long-term costs – the loss of income from not being able to work for weeks or months, the pain and suffering injury victims must endure. Everything counts. And all of it needs to be taken into consideration.
Every day in the United States, people, including many children, tragically drown in swimming pool accidents and boating incidents. In fact, an estimated 3,400 people drown every year in the U.S., and drowning is the leading cause of death in children aged 1-4.
However, drowning isn’t the only risk at swimming pools. Slip and fall accidents are common around pools and can lead to serious injuries, including head and spinal cord damage. This is a key reason why private pools must be surrounded by fences. Additionally, public pools are required to have a certain number of lifeguards on duty to enhance safety.
Common Causes of Swimming Accidents
Swimming accidents in the context of premises liability refer to incidents that occur in or around swimming pools, where the design, maintenance, or management of the pool area contributes to an injury or accident. Property owners or managers have a duty to ensure the safety of their swimming facilities. Here are some common examples:
- Drowning or Near-drowning Incidents: These can occur due to lack of supervision (e.g., no lifeguard on duty when required), inadequate fencing or barriers preventing unsupervised access, especially by children.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Wet surfaces around pools are common, but accidents can also be due to improperly maintained decks, lack of non-slip surfaces, or clutter and obstacles around the pool area.
- Diving Injuries: These can occur in pools that are too shallow for diving but lack clear depth markings or warning signs. Diving board malfunctions or improper installation can also lead to injuries.
- Electrical Accidents: Faulty pool lighting, pumps, or electrical systems not properly installed or maintained can lead to electrocution hazards.
- Chemical Burns and Poisoning: Incorrectly balanced pool chemicals can cause skin irritations, burns, or respiratory issues. Over-chlorination or improper storage of pool chemicals can lead to poisoning.
- Waterborne Illnesses: If the pool is not properly chlorinated or cleaned, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, leading to illnesses among swimmers.
- Entrapment Hazards: Poorly maintained or designed drains and suction outlets can create entrapment hazards, where a swimmer’s limbs, hair, or clothing gets caught, potentially leading to drowning.
- Inadequate Safety Equipment: Lack of life-saving equipment like life rings, ropes, or rescue poles, or having non-functioning emergency communication devices.
- Inadequate Signage: Failing to display rules, depth markers, no-diving signs, or other warnings necessary for safe pool use.
- Overcrowding: Allowing too many people in the pool at once can lead to accidents and make it difficult for lifeguards to monitor swimmers effectively.
- Injuries from Pool Toys and Equipment: Accidents caused by defective or improperly maintained pool toys, slides, or other equipment.
- Inadequate Training or Certification of Staff: If lifeguards or other pool staff are not properly trained or certified, it can lead to inadequate supervision and delayed emergency responses.
In Chicago, when swimming accidents happen, people turn to Coplan + Crane and connect with a hard-working, no-nonsense Oak Park swimming pool accident lawyer serving people throughout Illinois. We have years of experience handling such cases. That’s why we’re eager to meet with you to answer your questions and offer our advice free of charge. We offer this service because we hope you will choose to hire us to help you with your legal needs.
Potential Damages in a Premises Liability Claim
In a premises liability claim, the potential damages that can be claimed typically fall into several categories. These damages are meant to compensate the injured party for losses and harms suffered due to the property owner’s negligence. The specific types of damages can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case, but generally include:
- Medical Expenses: This can include costs for emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s visits, medication, physical therapy, and any ongoing medical treatment related to the injury.
- Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If the injury has caused the victim to miss work, they can claim for lost wages. Additionally, if the injury impacts their ability to work in the future, compensation for lost earning capacity may also be sought.
- Pain and Suffering: This is compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress suffered as a result of the injury. It can include compensation for both immediate pain and long-term suffering.
- Disability or Disfigurement: If the injury results in permanent disability or disfigurement, the victim may seek compensation for these long-term impacts.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury impacts the victim’s ability to enjoy day-to-day activities or hobbies they previously engaged in, they may claim damages for this loss.
- Property Damage: If personal property was damaged as a result of the incident (such as a broken watch or damaged clothing), the victim can claim for these losses.
- Wrongful Death: In cases where the premises liability incident leads to death, the victim’s family may be able to claim damages for wrongful death, which can include funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of the deceased’s future earnings.
- Punitive Damages: While rare, punitive damages may be awarded in some cases as a way to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
Trying to understand how much your case is worth can feel overwhelming. The Chicago premises liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane have extensive experience helping clients determine the full value of their physical, financial, and emotional losses. Call our office today to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer for FREE.
How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for most premises liability claims is two years. This means that a person who has been injured on someone else’s property typically has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This time frame is important because if you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, your case is very likely to be dismissed, and you will be unable to seek compensation for your injuries.
However, it’s important to note that there might be certain exceptions or specific circumstances that could alter this standard time frame. For example, if the injured party is a minor or if the injury was not discovered right away, the statute of limitations might be extended. Also, claims against government entities may have different deadlines and procedural requirements.
Given the complexities and potential variations in legal deadlines, it is always advisable to consult with the Chicago premises liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane for specific legal advice and to ensure that your rights are fully protected.
Call a Chicago Premises Liability Lawyer for FREE
The Chicago premises liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane are committed to winning for those who have lost. We are passionate about helping the wrongfully injured recover their physical, financial, and emotional losses.
Don’t face a serious injury on your own. Coplan + Crane has extensive experience with a wide range of accident claims involving dangerous premises, and we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact Coplan + Crane today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a FREE case evaluation. Our dangerous premises attorneys serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and more.