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How Do Building Code Violations Influence Illinois Premises Liability Claims?premises liability claim is one involving an injury on another party’s property. Property owners and managers cannot be expected to prevent every injury on their property, but they do have a legal obligation to keep their premises free of dangers that they could reasonably prevent. If the negligent actions or inaction of a property owner or property manager lead to someone’s injury or death, the property owner or manager may be liable for damages. In many cases, unsafe conditions on a property are the result of building code violations. Read on to learn about how violating building codes can influence your premises liability claim.

What Are Building Codes?

Local, state and federal laws referred to as building codes regulate the design and construction of buildings. These codes typically describe the minimum standards that must be met regarding the building’s materials and how those materials are assembled.  Building codes regulate structural components of the building as well as electrical wiring, plumbing, and more. Safety features such as smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, emergency escapes, proper lighting, and exit signs are also typically required. Buildings must also meet standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Equipment like handrails, railings, and grab bars are just some of the accessibility features that buildings may be required to have.

Building Code Noncompliance Can Lead to Injury or Death

A local building inspector is typically the party responsible for ensuring that a building meets applicable building codes. Failure to comply with building codes can result in fines and other penalties. Even worse, a building that is not up to code creates a risk of harm to customers or other people invited onto the property. For example, if a building’s electrical systems are not properly installed, this can cause a fire. Broken stairways or missing handrails can result in an individual falling down the stairs and becoming severely injured. Leaky plumbing can cause wet floors that present a slip and fall risk.

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Orland Park premises liability attorneysAny property owner, whether they own a residential home or a large-scale business, is required to keep that property reasonably safe. Any visitor to the property should not feel in danger of harm due to poor property maintenance or unorganized conditions, perhaps even a dog bite. If you have suffered an injury on someone else’s property, you may have a case under the Illinois Premises Liability Act. Premises liability law affects both property owners and those who become injured.

Invitees vs. Licensees

Prior to the 1995 amendment to the Illinois Premises Liability Act, those who would visit a property were defined separately as either invitees or licensees:

  • Invitee: a person who visits the property for the benefit of the owner of that property (e.g. guests were invited over for party)
  • Licensee: guests are visiting the property for their own amusement (e.g. patrons of an arcade)

Prior to the amendment, invitees and licensees were offered different protections when on a person’s or business’ property. After the amendment was enacted, both invitees and licensees should expect to be reasonably safe, no matter what type of property they are on, whether business or personal.

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DuPage County premises liability lawyer trampoline park injuryThe combination of entertainment and fitness offered by indoor trampoline parks has led to rapid expansion of these types of businesses over the past decade. While these facilities are typically laden with foam padding to help prevent injuries, there is a risk of injury in any athletic activity. Trampoline parks generally require each participant (or a minor’s parent or guardian) to sign a liability waiver, indicating that they understand and accept the risk of injury and agree that the facility is not liable for injuries sustained while participating. However, there are cases where the trampoline park could be held liable for injuries under premises liability law.

Safety and Injuries In Cook County Trampoline Parks

Hundreds of trampoline parks now operate in the U.S., and many have creatively expanded their offerings to include climbing walls, augmented reality games, and physical challenges such as rope ladders and warp walls popularized by TV shows like American Ninja Warrior. Most of these activities have been carefully designed to minimize the chance of injury to participants. For example, trampoline springs should be covered by foam mats that are secured in place, and padded walls or nets can be used to prevent people from flying out of a trampoline enclosure. In addition, facility employees should monitor each area of the park and “blow the whistle” on any jumpers who are not following posted rules. 

The most common trampoline injuries are sprains or strains incurred when jumpers land awkwardly. More serious injuries have also occurred, including leg fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. In most cases, customers cannot recover financial compensation from the trampoline park because they were made aware of these risks and signed a liability waiver.

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Orland Park premises liability attorneysPersonal injury lawsuits exist for several reasons. Firstly, when a person or entity’s behavior causes an innocent party harm, the responsible party should be held accountable. Secondly, the person harmed should be able to recover costs associated with their injury or illness such as lost wages, medical bills, and future curative costs such as physical therapy. In order to prove that a party is liable for an injured person’s damages, negligence must be proven.

If you own a piece of property and invite others onto it, you assume responsibility for their safety. On the other hand, when you are invited onto another person’s property, you trust that person to keep the property fee of injury-causing hazards. If you have been hurt or injured on someone else’s property, the property owner may vulnerable to a premises liability lawsuit.

Necessary Components of a Negligence Claim

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyWhen you are a visitor or guest on someone else’s property, the property own has a responsibility to ensure that you are safe. He or she is not necessarily responsible for stopping you from making poor decisions while on the property, but the owner must take steps to keep the premises free of potential hazards that could cause you to slip and fall or trip and fall. If the property owner does not keep the property safe and you suffer injuries as a result of his or negligence, you could be entitled to collect compensation through a premises liability claim.

Recovering compensation for slip-and-fall injuries requires the plaintiff—that is you—to show four primary things:

  1. The property owner owed you a duty of care. Proving a duty of care includes several elements. You will need to show that the defendant owns or occupies the premises where your injury occurred and that he or she is responsible for keeping the property safe. You must also show that you were permitted to be on the property, as trespassers are not owed the same duty of care as invited guests or visitors.
  2. A hazard existed on the property. The second thing you need to prove is that a dangerous condition existed on the premises. This could include a slippery floor with no warning signs, broken floor tiles, poorly lit areas, or merchandised that is unsafely stacked. Keep in mind that a hazardous condition must be capable of causing injuries.
  3. The owner knew or should have known about the problem and did not address it. A property owner can only be held liable for your injuries if he or she was aware (or should have been aware) that there was a hazardous condition on the property. Proving this element may depend on how long the condition existed. For example, an owner should know that a railing on a commonly-used staircase was broker, but he or she may not yet have known about a spill that happened just moments before your accident.
  4. You suffered harm as a result. Lastly, your right to collect damages will hinge on your ability to prove that the hazardous condition is what caused your injuries. Any action that the property owner took to mitigate the danger will be considered at this stage as well. For example, if the owner placed signs warning visitors of the broken railing and you used the staircase anyway, the owner’s liability could be reduced.

Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer

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Orland Park premises liability attorneyLast night, the 2017 World Series got underway as this year’s baseball season draws to a close. Business is essentially back to normal for Major League Baseball, though the mood could have been quite different. About a month ago, a toddler at Yankee Stadium was hit in the face by a 105-mile-per-hour foul ball during a game. The little girl suffered a broken nose and other fractures, spending five days in New York hospital, but her injuries could have been much worse and potentially fatal.

The frightening incident has led many to wonder about the family’s recourse regarding their child’s medical expenses. Could they sue the New York Yankees or the ownership group for negligence or failure to provide for the safety of spectators in attendance? While many injured spectators have tried in the past to sue ballpark owners and sports teams, their efforts are often unsuccessful due to a doctrine known as “assumption of risk.” In the state of Illinois, the assumption of such risk has even been codified into statutory law.

Premises Liability

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