Injuries From Defective Structures in Chicago | Staver
Premises Liability

Injuries From Defective Structures in Chicago

If you were hurt because of a defective and dangerous structure on someone else’s property, give us a call right away. Our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is highly experienced in all types of premises liability cases. We’ve handled many claims involving defective structures, from broken stairs to dangerous zip lines and playgrounds. Our top priority will be getting you full and fair compensation for your injuries from the negligent property owner.

To learn more about premises liability claims involving defective structures, call us at (312) 236-2900 or use the online form to request a free consultation.

Illinois Premises Liability Law

Under the Illinois Premises Liability Act, property owners owe entrants a reasonable duty of care regarding the condition of the premises and the activities performed or banned on the premises. The owner or manager of the property has to take reasonable care to find defects and either fix them or warn guests about them. What constitutes reasonable care depends on the circumstances. What’s reasonable in an office park might not be the same as what’s reasonable in a private campground or someone’s backyard.

Who Is Protected by Premises Liability Law?

Entrants include anyone who comes onto the land with permission. Decades ago, Illinois distinguished between invitees and licensees. But the difference between types of guests was abolished in the 1990s. The only distinction that matters now is between a guest and a trespasser. Property owners don’t owe the same level of care to people on their land without permission. Owners are only responsible for a trespasser’s injuries if they acted with a willful and wanton disregard for other’s safety, or they intentionally harmed the trespasser.

Injuries from Defective Structures

One of the common reasons for premises liability cases is someone getting hurt because of a defective structure on a property.

Common structures include:

  • Residences
  • Cabins
  • Businesses
  • Garages
  • Pools, diving boards, pool houses
  • Sheds
  • Greenhouse
  • Utilities
  • Bridges
  • Docks
  • Stairs
  • Sidewalks and paths
  • Decks and balconies
  • Patios
  • Gazebos or pergolas
  • Fences
  • Treehouses
  • Playgrounds and swing sets

Examples of Accidents Due to Defective Structures

  • Falling from playground equipment because of a loose or missing railing
  • Falling from a tree because of an unstable treehouse
  • Falling into a river because of an unsound bridge
  • Suffering a laceration from a fence with protruding nails or metal parts
  • Becoming trapped in a building collapse
  • Suffering carbon monoxide poisoning in a rented cabin
  • Tripping and falling on loose stones in a patio
  • Slipping and falling off an old, smooth diving board

What Should You Do After a Defective Structure Accident?

If you were injured on another person’s property because of a defective and dangerous structure, we recommend you talk with an attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

Our initial steps will be to:

  • Find out who owns the structure and that property. We’ll also look for any other person or business that manages the property.
  • Gather evidence about the incident. We’ll also look for evidence about the property’s history. You might not be the first person to get hurt in the property.
  • Calculate your damages, including your physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
  • Send a demand letter to the property owner or manager outlining your allegations and demanding compensation for your injuries.

Pursuing Compensation for Injuries from a Defective Structure

In some circumstances, you can seek a settlement from an insurance policy. If you were injured on residential property, the owner might have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers bodily injuries. If you were injured on commercial property, it’s also likely that the owner has a liability insurance policy. The policy limit is probably higher than a homeowners’ policy limit too.

After we send our demand, the insurer will thoroughly investigate the accident. If the incident is covered by the policy, then it approves your claim. But we might not be able to win a fair settlement without filing a premises liability lawsuit first. By going to court, we can take advantage of discovery. This is the process of using several legal tools to gain information from the other side.

During discovery, we’ll demand information about the structure, including:

  • When was the structure built?
  • How often is the structure inspected?
  • When was the most recent inspection of the structure?
  • What were the most recent repairs to the structure?
  • When were the repairs completed?

We’ll look for any evidence that the property owner knew that the structure was defective. A business might have emails or internal memos about the structure’s issues, inspections, or repairs. We’ll also look for evidence that the owner has left the structure uninspected for too long. Another way to find out if the owner should have known the structure was dangerous is by looking for complaints by guests or workers who were on the property in recent months or years.

Does a Government Entity Own the Property?

If you were injured because of a defective structure on local, county, or state property, talk with us right away. You’ll need to pursue a claim against the municipality or state. Our priority is identifying the government agency responsible for that property and structure. If your claim is against a part of the Illinois government, then the agency is held to a different standard. You have to prove the agency’s conduct was willful and wanton, which is worse than ordinary negligence. You also have to take your case to the Illinois Court of Claims.

Call a Chicago Premises Liability Attorney for Help

When you’re a guest, customer, or client on a person or business’s property, you should be safe whether you walked into a store to buy something or were invited to a friend’s house. You shouldn’t have to worry about the condition of accessible structures on the property. But you might learn the hard way that the property owner wasn’t taking care of their property as they should.

If you were hurt, put your health and safety first. Then, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., to discuss filing a premises liability claim and asking for compensation. You can reach us through our online form or at (312) 236-2900.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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