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Could you have a premises liability suit?

With winter beginning to bear down on Chicago, potential hazards will soon be all around when we go outside. Of course, ice and snow around businesses and other types of property can provide increased danger to those who visit, live or work there.

However, there are year-round safety issues that all property owners, managers, landlords and leasees have an obligation to eliminate or minimize to the best of their ability. They're expected to keep their property in a condition that's reasonably safe and to take action or notify the appropriate person(s) if they know of a potentially dangerous condition. Depending on the circumstances, any or all of these parties can be held legally responsible if someone is injured or worse.

Premises liability suits in Chicago often involve ice and snow. Determining whether a property owner or other party is liable depends on whether he or she could have reasonably dealt with the potential danger.

For example, if a sudden snowstorm coupled with high winds left a pile of snow on a rooftop that fell on someone's head, the property owner likely can't be held liable since there's little if anything that could have been done to remedy the situation, particularly if the storm was ongoing.

However, if the snow sat there for many days and froze into a weighty mass before dropping and hurting someone, the owner or other responsible party may be considered at fault for not removing it.

Other common actions that may warrant a premises liability suit include:

  • Falls on a wet floor
  • Falls, accidents or crimes that occur in an area without proper lighting
  • Trips and falls on uneven flooring, rugs, mats or carpeting
  • Trips and falls on uneven parking lot pavement, sidewalks or drives that is considered part of a property
  • Criminal actions on premises without appropriate security for the area and type of venue
  • Dog bites or attacks

If you or a loved one has been injured on a business or residential property, it's worthwhile to discuss the situation with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. He or she can help you determine who can and should be held responsible.

Source: The Balance, "Premises Liability: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know," Lahle Wolfe, accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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