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Aurora is known as the City of Lights—first, because its name means dawn, and then because it was the first in the nation to use streetlights. Since that time, Aurora has steadily grown into the second-largest city in the state. It has a population of around 200,000 and some significant architectural features, as well as a dockside casino and a wide array of local businesses to meet the needs of residents and visitors.
One thing that all of these businesses have in common is a requirement to protect guests from hazards through a regular inspection of the premises and prompt repair of hazardous property features. This is also true for the owners and renters of residential properties and the agencies who manage public areas within the city.
If you’ve been injured on a residential, commercial, or public property in Aurora as a result of property owner or manager’s failure to mitigate a hazard, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury through a premises liability claim. An experienced Aurora premises liability lawyer from Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys can help you understand this process. They can provide information about our legal team’s services to assist you with your claim.
What Types of Accidents Can Lead to an Aurora Premises Liability Claim?
Throughout Aurora, there are old buildings, tall buildings, parking lots, and public facilities where hazards exist that could result in injuries to guests. Here is a look at some types of accidents that can result in a premises liability claim.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents occur when someone slips or trips due to a property hazard and falls. This is the most common type of accident to result in a premises liability claim. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, more than one million people seek treatment for injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents in the U.S. each year. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include loose, worn, or torn flooring materials, water or other debris on the floor, cluttered walkways, defective staircases and handrails, poor lighting in stairwells, and potholes in parking lots.
Elevator and Escalator Injuries
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elevator and escalator injuries in the U.S. result in around 30 deaths and 170,000 injuries each year, with about 90 percent of these deaths and 60 percent of the injuries occurring as a result of issues involving an elevator.
Elevator accidents can be terrifying, including injuries when individuals get entrapped in the door when the elevator plunges down floors or falls into the shaft while working on the apparatus. Escalator injuries often occur due to a rider’s clothing being trapped in the apparatus’ conveyor belt or falling from height.
Elevators and escalators in Aurora are registered, inspected, and certified by the State Fire Marshal’s Elevator Safety Division. Placing these features in a building within the state requires a license. Despite regulations created to make elevator and escalator apparatuses safe, businesses can fail to obtain the proper inspections and certifications or maintain the equipment to ensure that guests do not suffer injuries.
Swimming Pool Accidents
There are several public and private pools in the Aurora area and pools found in residential backyards and hotels throughout the city. One of the most common types of swimming pool accidents is the accidental drowning of a child who wanders unsupervised into an unsecured pool area and falls in the water.
Other types of injuries can also occur. For example, when someone’s clothing gets entangled in the pool’s filter or drain systems, slip, fall accidents in the area around the pool, and electrocutions result from defective lights or heating systems.
Amusement Park Injuries
There are several water parks, trampoline parks, and amusement centers located throughout Aurora, as well as periodic carnival visits that allow residents to ride roller coasters, ferris wheels, and other types of rides. These types of businesses are the common location of injuries, particularly those occurring to children, including trauma to the head and neck, injuries resulting from trips and falls, and drowning on water-based rides.
Fires and Floods
The owners of rented residential properties and the managers of the more than 100 hotels in Aurora must protect residents and guests from becoming injured by building fires. To do this, they must ensure that the building’s electrical system is up to code and that each unit is equipped with fire extinguishers, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Rooms must also have an adequate number of exits.
According to Risk Factor, more than a quarter of Aurora’s residential and commercial properties face a moderate risk of flooding over the next 30 years. 40 out of 163 social facilities- including schools and places of worship- face a major risk of flooding.
Property owners and managers must take reasonable actions to protect residents and guests from injuries caused by flooding. These actions include sealing the home properly to prevent flood waters from entering and using flood-resistant materials in the building. Property owners are obligated to promptly clean up any flooding that occurs to avoid dangerous mold growth.
There are around 4.884 million households in Illinois, and more than 32 percent own at least one dog. While dogs provide their owners with immeasurable benefits, including companionship and protection, dogs can cause serious injuries or even death when they attack. The most common victims of dog bites are male children under the age of 10, though victims of dog bites can be any age.
Illinois enacts strict liability for dog bites, making the dog owner liable for compensating those injured due to a dog bite, regardless of whether they had knowledge of past aggressive behavior from the dog. In Aurora dog bite cases, claimants generally do not have to prove that the bite was a result of the property owner’s negligence. They have to show who the dog belonged to and that the dog bit them.
Aurora’s crime rate, compared to similarly-sized cities, is in the middle of the pack, with roughly half of the cities being safer and half being more dangerous. Property owners and managers in Aurora have the responsibility to take reasonable actions to protect their guests from becoming injured as a result of criminal activity in the area.
Some examples of the types of security measures that can be provided include:
- Security patrols in parking lots of apartments, hotels, school campuses, and large department stores.
- Security personnel, such as bouncers in bars and nightclubs.
- The use of security surveillance cameras in businesses.
- Locks and alarm systems placed on building doors and windows.
- Metal detectors at airports and at large events.
Seeking Compensation through the Illinois Premises Liability Claims Process
Individuals injured due to a hazardous property feature can seek compensation for their injury through the Illinois premises liability claims process. This type of claim falls under the wide umbrella of personal injury claims, and a personal injury lawyer is the legal professional best suited to assist claimants with this process.
A premises liability claim is initially made to the property owner or manager’s associated liability policy. For example, if your injury occurred at a private residence, the claim would be filed against the owner or renter’s homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Accidents occurring in a commercial building would be made against the owner or manager’s business insurance policy.
If the insurer fails to pay the claim outright or through a settlement agreement with the claimant, then the claim can be filed as a premises liability lawsuit in civil court within two years of the date on which the injury occurred.
This two-year deadline is known as the statute of limitations, and it is a very important date, as allowing the statute of limitations to expire will generally result in your loss of the right to use the court process to seek compensation for the financial and psychological costs of your injury. Without the right to use the court process, there are no legal ramifications if the insurer fails to compensate the claim.
What Needs to Be Proven in a Premises Liability Claim?
To have a successful outcome to your premises liability claim, you must prove:
- The at-fault party is legally bound to the property because they lease, own, or otherwise occupy and control the building.
- The at-fault party was negligent in failing to regularly inspect their property in search of hazards, promptly mitigate any hazards that are discovered, and to provide prominent warnings to guests of hazards that have not yet been repaired.
- As a result of the property owner or manager’s negligence, an accident occurred in which you sustained an injury.
What Type of Compensation Is Available Through an Aurora Premises Liability Claim?
Premises liability claimants in Aurora can seek compensation for the expenses and the psychological impacts they incurred due to an unmitigated property hazard.
These expenses and impacts commonly include:
- The cost of medically treating the injury
- Wage loss is associated with the period in which the claimant was too injured to work.
- Loss of earning capacity, if the injury causes permanent disabilities and the claimant can no longer earn an income.
- Property damage sustained by the claimant as a result of the same premises liability matter that caused the injury
- Physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other psychological impacts
How Can an Attorney Help With a Premises Liability Claim?
Personal injury attorneys bring education in legal matters and experience with the claims process to the premises liability claims they assist their clients with. These cases often feature complex issues or evidence that is difficult to obtain. The attorney’s legal team is available to help with the legwork to gather the information, documentation, and testimony needed to prove your claim.
Some of the services an Aurora premises liability lawyer can provide include:
- Determination of liability and insurance
- Valuing the claim based on factors including the availability of insurance, the severity of the injury, and permanent disabilities that were incurred as a result of the injury
- Filing a claim with the insurance provider and managing communication with that provider so that the focus remains on negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf
- Managing the timeline of your claim to ensure that the statute of limitations does not expire on your claim
- Guidance and information to help you understand how your claim is valued and other details about the process so that you can make informed decisions about your case
- Gathering the evidence needed to prove your claim
- Litigation services, including preparing evidence exhibits, deposing witnesses, arranging for expert testimony, filing motions, and delivering opening and closing arguments
- Assistance collecting your settlement or award after your claim
Injured Due to a Premises Liability Matter? We Can Help
If you were injured due to a property hazard that the owner or manager failed to mitigate, let an experienced Aurora premises liability lawyer from Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys evaluate your claim for free. We will explain more about the premises liability claims process, answer your questions about the case, and tell you about our strategy for helping you obtain the compensation you need.