Joliet is one of the largest cities in Illinois, with casinos, bars, and popular landmarks on Route 66. Because so many people enjoy being out and about in Joliet, accidents often occur.
For instance, people might track snow into a store during heavy snow days, making the floors slick and dangerous. Other times, customers might accidentally touch hazardous chemicals during a building renovation. If a dangerous condition caused you harm, you might have a premises liability claim.
Zayed Law Offices work with residents of Joliet to bring negligent property owners to justice. Our experienced Joliet premises liability attorneys have recovered significant awards for our clients, including both settlements and jury awards. For example, we recovered a substantial settlement for our client who tripped due to a snowplow company's negligence. Every case is unique and will have different results, but we have the track record to show that we know how to pursue our clients' compensation relentlessly.
We work diligently to get the results you deserve. Get in touch with us now to see what we can do for you.
- What Is Premises Liability?
- Types of Premises Liability Accidents
- Who Can You Sue?
- Why You Need a Lawyer
- How to Find a Premises Liability Lawyer in Joliet
- Possible Premises Liability Defenses
- How Long Do You Have to File a Premises Liability Claim?
- What to Do After a Premises Liability Accident
- What Damages Can You Claim?
- What to Expect From a Premises Liability Lawsuit
- Call a Joliet Premises Liability Lawyer Today
- Joliet Personal Injury Lawyer
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a type of negligence that occurs when a person fails to keep their property safe, injuring another person. Whoever manages a property must ensure that it is safe for visitors. Otherwise, an accident could occur at any time.
Property owners must exercise reasonable care for guests and visitors. They need to notice and fix any dangers, and visitors should receive proper warnings. If they fail to do so, Illinois law allows injured parties to file premises liability lawsuits to recover damages the premises liability caused.
In most situations, property owners in Joliet do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. However, they may not intentionally or willfully create conditions that injure trespassers. They also owe a duty of care to trespassing minors under the attractive nuisance doctrine. Under this doctrine, property managers and owners must restrict access to dangerous conditions, like swimming pools, if they have reason to know that children might trespass on their property.
If a hazardous condition injured your child, do not hesitate to call Zayed Law Offices for a free consultation.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Some dangerous conditions are obvious, and property owners can make repairs immediately. However, some hazards may not be noticeable until after an accident occurs.
Several types of lawsuits can fall under premises liability. They are:
- Slips and falls. Falls account for an estimated 21.3 percent of emergency room visits. Spills, worn surfaces, cracked pavement, ice, or slippery floors can cause a slip and fall. If a property owner or business manager should have known about the hazard but did not remedy it, then you may have a claim.
- Dog bites. Dog owners have a responsibility to prevent their dogs from causing harm to others. Illinois has a strict liability law for dog-related injuries and property damage. If a dog attacks a peaceable person, then the dog's owner will likely be liable even if the dog has no prior history of violence.
- Inadequate security. Negligent security is another form of premises liability. The victim might have a claim if an assault, battery, or robbery occurs due to poor lighting, broken cameras, or untrained guards. These accidents often occur in commercial buildings, parking lots, parks, and public transportation.
- Elevator and escalator malfunctions. Around 17,000 people sustain severe injuries from an escalator or elevator each year. An escalator might have a broken step or unstable handrails. People who work on or near elevators have a higher chance of an incident.
Premises liability cases contain a wide range of accidents. Not every situation has noticeable signs of negligence. The attorneys at Zayed Law Offices can help you determine if you have a valid claim and grounds to pursue financial compensation.
Who Can You Sue?
The property owner is usually the party responsible for maintaining their property. However, other parties could be liable, such as the party who occupies and controls access to the premises.
Construction contractors and lessees might be liable if they occupied the property at the time of the accident. A property manager or landlord might be liable as well. Speak with a personal injury lawyer about determining who is at fault in your case.
Can You Hold the Government Liable?
Some accidents take place on government property. The law allows victims to bring a claim against a state agency or municipality in some circumstances. However, these claims have different rules than most personal injury claims. For example, there is a shorter time limit for filing, and parties may need to submit a notice of claim in cases against a state agency.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Whether you fell or sustained burns, you should find a qualified lawyer to help you. Some people may hesitate to hire a lawyer for fear of legal expenses. However, having an attorney on your side can help you avoid significant stress.
One reason to get a lawyer is to avoid endless paperwork. A lawsuit requires filing numerous legal documents. If you represent yourself, you have to read and prepare each one. The legal jargon can be confusing to people unfamiliar with the law. A lawyer can save you time and stress and file the paperwork for you.
An attorney can also calculate the value of your claim accurately. While you could add up the cost of lost wages and medical bills, calculating things like mental anguish is less straightforward. You do not want to undervalue your claim by accident.
At Zayed Law Offices, our firm works with you to build an effective negotiation strategy. Our premises liability lawyers have negotiating skills. We know how to communicate with insurance companies, and the other side's legal team does not intimidate us. We know when to accept a fair settlement and when to keep pushing for our clients.
How to Find a Premises Liability Lawyer in Joliet
Close friends and family members may recommend a lawyer to you. They might have had a similar accident and know where to find a trusted firm. Additionally, your state or local bar association has lists of attorneys in your area. You can contact the association to select a firm in the right specialty.
Many people use the internet to find a local attorney as well. Websites list helpful information about lawyers. A firm's page usually lists the lawyers' practice areas, details about the team, and client testimonies.
Before hiring a firm, schedule a consultation. Consultations let you know whether a certain premises liability lawyer is right for you. You can tell whether you can trust them and whether they have the skills to handle your case.
We're confident that if you follow the above steps, they will lead you to our office, and when they do, we're happy to talk to you about your case.
Possible Premises Liability Defenses
In a premises liability case, the victim has to prove the at-fault party neglected their duty of reasonable care. A few defenses could free the other side of liability, such as the “open and obvious” defense.
A property owner might not bear liability if the hazard was open and obvious to the victim. However, if the landowner reasonably expected the visitor to become distracted, an exception could apply to this defense.
In addition, some businesses offer recreational activities, which increase the risk of an accident. The companies may have visitors sign a waiver to be on the property. The defendant might try to use the document to get out of paying a settlement.
If the victim trespassed, the at-fault party might use the victim's trespassing as a defense. An experienced attorney knows how to counter the defendant's arguments; speaking with an experienced premises liability attorney about your accident can help you determine what rules apply to your case. At Zayed Law Offices, our team can prepare for any defense the other side uses.
How Long Do You Have to File a Premises Liability Claim?
Even if you have a right to file a lawsuit in the state's civil court system, you must act quickly to avoid losing your right to make a claim. In most circumstances, residents of Joliet have two years to begin the claims process under the statute of limitations.
Injuries from a fall or negligent security can be fatal as well. If your loved one died in an accident, you might be able to sue for damages. The statute of limitations for wrongful death would apply to the case. Like personal injury lawsuits, you usually have two years to bring the claim.
In some cases, accidents damage property like computers, watches, and phones. In most situations, you have five years to bring a claim to seek reimbursement for property damage.
What to Do After a Premises Liability Accident
First, call 911 for medical attention if an accident injures you. If you are able, you should then report the incident to the police and the landowner or manager. If any witnesses are present, speak to them and obtain their phone numbers. This information will help you get witness statements.
You should take photos of your injuries and the hazardous features of the area. For example, photos can show a puddle without any wet floor signs around it.
Seek medical care with a doctor or hospital. A healthcare provider can determine the full extent of your injuries and prevent further complications. Getting a medical record immediately after the accident can help your case, too. A medical report describes your injuries, and you can use it to help establish your injuries. Keep copies of your medical bills on hand as well.
Do not speak to the other party's insurance company. If you do, be careful about what you say. Insurers might use what you say to devalue your claim. The adjuster may also try to pressure or intimidate you into accepting a low settlement.
The next step is to reach out to a law firm. A premises liability lawyer can help defend your rights as the injured party.
What Damages Can You Claim?
No single premises liability lawsuit is the same. The value of each case depends on what damages the injured person can recover.
Victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, including procedures, doctor visits, hospital stays, medical equipment, and medical treatment. They may also seek compensation for continuous physical therapy and other future medical bills.
Victims can also pursue compensation for any time they had to miss work due to their injuries. If your loved one died due to their injuries, you might seek compensation for the victim's projected future income and funeral expenses as well.
A premises liability lawyer can help you determine the amount of compensation you should seek.
What to Expect From a Premises Liability Lawsuit
The length of time that a premises liability lawsuit takes depends on various factors. First, your legal team will investigate your claim to determine the full extent of your losses.
Next, your lawyer might contact the other side's insurance company and attorney to issue a demand if they believe the case can settle before filing a lawsuit. If the other side does not negotiate, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court.
During a lawsuit, each side investigates the other's arguments and evidence. Your lawyer sends requests for documents the other party has. Additionally, depositions take place to collect statements from witnesses. The lawyers might question the plaintiff and defendant as well.
Most premises liability cases resolve before a trial can happen. In some situations, the lawyers and their clients sit before a neutral third party in mediation. The premises liability lawyers at Zayed Law Offices have the skills necessary to see your claim through to the end, whether we settle or take the case to court.
Call a Joliet Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If an accident on someone else's property injured you, seek legal representation right away. Our team at Zayed Law Offices in Joliet is ready to represent clients injured by someone else's negligence so that they do not have to face their injuries and medical bills alone. Our clients know that they are in good hands with our firm on their side.
Learn more about how our legal team can help you recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. Contact us at (815) 726-1616 for a free consultation today.