On January 31, 2012, a three story building on Chicago’s South Side collapsed. The property sat vacant for many years and was currently owned by the city. City officials had previously declared the building unsafe, but after many years of neglect the 100-year old building was still standing and even had a tree that managed to grow and pierce the roof of the structure. After it began to crumble, it quickly fell injuring several people that were in close proximity. Unfortunately for the city, a building in that kind of condition was a liability that finally manifested with the injuries of four people. No doubt those injured will seek compensation for their injuries and suffering.
A situation like this falls under the area of law known as premises liability and, in Illinois, is determined by the Premises Liability Act, 740 ILCS 130/2. Under this Act, a landowner or occupier (i.e., a tenant) has a duty to provide reasonable care under the circumstances to those that interact with the property. In the above example, this building was on a street corner and had awnings that reached over into the sidewalk area. Those not intending to travel onto the property were still forced to go underneath the awnings to walk on the sidewalk.
Another problem for the city is the fact that the fire marshal declared the building unsafe several years ago. Under the Act, a landowner may become liable for the condition of the land if they a) know or would have reasonably discovered the condition of the premises and that it involves a risk of harm to others, b) can expect that others on or near the property will not discover the danger and fail to protect themselves, and c) fail to exercise reasonable care to protect against the danger. Ward v. Kmart 136 Ill. 2d. 132. The city in this instance has satisfied all of the conditions. As a result of the collapse the city is now seeking a private company to demolish the building.
Hopefully those who were injured will seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. Because it is city property, they will have to collect from a government entity. In this instance it is prudent to see an attorney as soon as possible as the statute of limitation may be reduced in certain instances. The attorney will collect any evidence and assess the injuries and come up with an amount that will fully compensate a victim for all aspects of an injury or death, including pain, suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, loss of society, loss of consortium, and any other damages relevant to the circumstances.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. In considering the statute of limitation this firm is not giving an opinion on when the statute of limitation expires. The statute of limitation requires a claimant to file a lawsuit by a certain date. Failure to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitation bars a claimant from filing a claim and from being compensated. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured by someone who was drinking, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.