As a careful person, you avoid a lot of accidents. You swerve around potholes and step over large cracks in the sidewalk. But far too many dangers in the world are hard or impossible to see. It doesn’t matter how careful you are — a hidden defect could cause a serious accident. You could suffer severe injuries because of something as seemingly small as a loose stair. But that board can cause you to lose your footing and fall down a flight of stairs.
When you’re injured on someone else’s property because of a hidden defect, it’s best to talk with a premises liability lawyer about your options. Reach out to Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 or through our online form. We offer free consultations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis. You owe us nothing unless we win.
Common hidden defects in residential and commercial properties include:
In Illinois, your right to premises liability compensation depends on whether you were injured by a hidden or obvious condition. In general, property owners aren’t responsible for accidents caused by open and obvious conditions. As a visitor, it’s up to you to act reasonably and carefully and avoid any obvious issues that could cause you harm.
To successfully pursue compensation in a premises liability case, you have to show that you couldn’t see and avoid the condition. You have to show it was a hidden defect that was impossible to avoid with reasonable care.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the owner can claim the condition was open and obvious as a defense. But there are ways you can fight back from this reasoning. You can show that the landowner knew or should have known you would be too distracted by the activities on the property to notice the obvious hazard.
There’s also the deliberate encounter exception. The property owner might know or have reason to expect that a visitor will notice a hazard and move forward with the encounter because the benefit of doing so outweighs the apparent risk.
If you fall or are struck by an object because of a hidden defect, you could sustain a concussion or a more severe TBI. While most people fully recover from concussions, moderate-to-severe TBIs can cause long-term complications and permanent disabilities.
It’s all too common for an accident to cause one or more back injuries. You could sprain or strain muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your back. You could have herniated discs between two or more vertebrae. You could fracture one or more vertebrae. All of these injuries require medical care and time to heal. You might need surgery and physical rehabilitation. You also face the risk of life-long discomfort, pain, and limited range of motion because of these injuries.
The most catastrophic back injury is a spinal cord injury (SCI). You could become paralyzed from a fall or being trapped by a heavy object. A SCI is more than paralysis. You might have respiratory issues, blood circulation problems, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and a high risk of infection. You also might require treatment for mental health issues.
You might suffer bone fractures. Depending on the complexity and location of the break, you might need more than a cast. Some fractures require surgery to put in place pins, screws, or plates. You also might have to go through months of physical therapy to regain your range of motion and strength.
A large and deep laceration can leave a lasting scar. Depending on the location of the cut, you might have to move forward in life with a visible disfigurement.
Some properties have hidden defects like high levels of lead, carbon monoxide, or radon. These substances are invisible but can cause you significant harm. Your health, in general, might deteriorate significantly before your doctors can pinpoint the source.
Numerous parties could be responsible for dangerous hidden defects in a property. Some hidden defects are also latent defects. They’re something a reasonable person can’t see immediately. For example, an owner might not know that there aren’t enough beams holding up a balcony or that there aren’t enough screws securing a handrail to a wall.
Responsibility for hidden defects might fall on the homeowner’s shoulders. But many latent defects are the responsibility of the builder. It’s important to have an experienced premises liability lawyer investigate the type of defect and when it would have originated. A latent defect might be one even a reasonable home or business owner wouldn’t have discovered, even over time. But a hidden defect could be one the owner knew or should have known about and didn’t repair or warn you about.
A lawyer will get to the bottom of what hidden defect caused you harm, when it likely arose, and who is responsible for it. This can be a tough investigation, and it will likely require filing a lawsuit and going through the discovery process. Only by going through discovery and demanding information from the other property owners and builders can you get to the truth.
When you’re injured in an accident or are diagnosed with a serious medical condition like carbon monoxide poisoning, talk with a lawyer about whether the property owner is responsible. An attorney’s investigation might uncover evidence of a hidden defect on the premises that the property owner, manager, or contractor is responsible for. Our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., will guide you in demanding compensation for your injuries. We’ll handle the litigation process as well as negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. We always fight to win the maximum compensation possible. Give us a call at (312) 236-2900 or use our online form to schedule your free, no-risk consultation.