Premises liability law holds property owners responsible if their negligence actions cause harm or death to those allowed on the premises. This includes homeowners, business owners, and owners of any other type of property. Here is what all Illinois residents should know about premises liability.
Asbestos is a strong fiber known for its durability and resistance to fire, making it a staple in constructing buildings until the 1980s. This is when Illinois (and the entire United States) banned asbestos from being used in constructing new buildings. Unfortunately, some buildings in the state and throughout the U.S. still contain asbestos, and it has to be professionally removed. About 20% of buildings in the U.S. contain asbestos, and in Illinois, sellers are required to inform buyers that their building contains asbestos, lead paint, and many other environmental hazards.
Asbestos becomes a concern when the ceiling, tiles, pipes, or any other material containing asbestos becomes damaged. The fibers can then become trapped in your lungs when you breathe them in. This can lead to mesothelioma and other cancers if the fibers get trapped inside other organs.
Dog bites and other animal attacks can be a cause of premises liability claims, as they can cause infection. The owner of the pet is responsible if the victim did not provoke the animal to attack in any way. This doesn’t include trespassing, as the victim is considered to be illegally on the property.
Fire Hazards and Safety Violations
In Illinois, all properties must adhere to fire safety rules, and failure to do so results in premises liability. Examples of fire hazards and fire safety violations include:
- No escape route signage
- Lack of fire extinguishers
- Improper use of extension cords
- Faulty fire alarms and sprinkler systems
- Blocked exit doors
Lack of fire safety can lead to burns and death but also can result in bruises and broken bones when people are scrambling to exit the building due to a lack of established escape routes.
Negligence in security can also lead to injuries for people legally visiting a property. Examples of inadequate security can be:
- Improperly trained security personnel
- Leaving access doors unlocked
- Failure to maintain surveillance cameras, locks, and other security equipment
Under Illinois liability laws, property owners are held liable for inadequate security measures that fail to protect dwellers or visitors from harm caused by another person. Negligence in security can lead to serious injuries and even wrongful death.
Poorly Lit Walkways and Stairways/Defective Conditions
Bad lighting can be considered a hazard because it can lead to falls— and falls can be deadly when there are stairs involved. Broken and missing stairs are also a liability of the property owner. Other examples and damaged and defective conditions include:
- Weakened/unsupported ceilings
- Raised tree roots
- Poorly maintained
- Loose shelving/overhead materials
- Faulty appliances
- Dangerous electrical fixtures
- Collapsed floors
These defective conditions can lead to burns, bruises, fractures, broken bones, and even death if someone gets injured.
Roadway/Sidewalk Defects and Other Outdoor Liability
Property owners are also responsible for defective conditions outside of their property as well. This is why it’s important to know what’s considered your property outside of your building/dwelling/etc. when it comes to premises liability. Usually, roadways and sidewalks leading to your property are your responsibility to maintain.
There is also a liability if you have a swimming pool, jacuzzi, etc. on your property. Illinois requires fencing or some sort of permanent barrier around pools that is at least three and a half feet high. Failure to do so can result in accidental drowning and the property owner will be held liable.
Slippery and Cluttered Floors
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common accidents that occur on any type of property, and slippery and cluttered floors are the main culprits. Wet surfaces can be a result of cleaning or weather, while cluttered floors can include damaged carpeting and rugs. Slips and falls almost always result in some type of injury, whether it’s a strain or a bruise or broken bones, or death.
Property owners are responsible for the repairs and maintenance of their buildings to prevent injury from happening. Not everything can be corrected right away, so it’s important to have signs and barriers warning people of these hazards. Failure to do so means that victims can contact a premises liability lawyer or personal injury lawyer to receive compensation.
All Illinois property owners must understand Illinois premises liability laws.