A NATION OF LAWS
With war appearing imminent, it is helpful to reflect on the role the law plays in our lives. Laws echo the collective morality and conscience of our society. Without them, we would live in chaos. Many of our enemies exist under systems which do not respect the law and which allow for unjust rulers to reign. Our society allows for peaceful, non-violent resolution of disputes through a court system which, although not perfect, is far superior to those used by the governments who despise us. Regardless of whether our leaders decide to attack, let’s hope the end result of any conflict with another nation results in that country having greater respect for and easier enforcement of the rule of law.
Bond & Associates, P.C.
Spring Newsletter 2003
In this issue…
With the recent winter weather, our firm receives a number of questions about slip, trip and fall accidents. When is the property owner or occupant liable? What damages can I claim? What responsibilities does a homeowner or business owner have to those who might visit the property?
Under Illinois’ Premises Liability Act, the duty owed to entrants is that of “reasonable care under the circumstances.” That phrase is very vague and can be interpreted in many ways. If you or a visitor to your property is injured in a slip, trip and fall accident, you need competent legal counsel to help you determine whether the duty of reasonable care was violated.
Rather than defining what constitutes reasonable care, the Illinois legislature chose instead to list those things which do not violate the law. Specifically, the duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances” does not include:
- A duty to warn of or otherwise take reasonable steps to protect entrants from conditions on the premises that are known to the entrant, are open and obvious, or can reasonably be expected to be discovered by the entrant
- A duty to warn of latent defects or dangers or defects or dangers unknown to the owner or occupier of the premises
- A duty to warn entrants of any dangers resulting from misuse by the entrants of the premises or anything affixed to or located on the premises
- A duty to protect entrants from their own misuse of the premises or anything affixed to or located on the premises.
An owner of property is not an insurer against accidents occurring on the premises and an owner’s liability must be predicated upon negligence. Damages due to the negligent maintenance of property give rise to a cause of action against the party in control and possession of the premises, regardless of whether they are the actual owner. The possessor of the premises must have either actual or constructive notice of the dangerous or hazardous condition to be held liable.
Does a property owner have to shovel their snow? In Illinois, absent a local ordinance to the contrary, the answer is no. (Be sure to check with the City you live in to find out if snow removal is mandatory.) Generally, property owners have no obligation to remove natural accumulations of snow, ice or water. However, if the possessor of the property elects to remove snow, they must do so in a safe manner which protects those who enter the property. Negligently shoveling a sidewalk or entry way and thereby creating unnatural accumulations of snow, ice or water can result in liability.
In each case, it is for a judge to decide whether the property owner/occupant owed a duty of care to guests, invitees and visitors. Once it is decided that a duty does exist, the trier of fact (sometimes a judge but often a jury) decides whether that duty was violated. Illinois is a contributory negligence state. An injured party must prove that they were less than 50% at fault for the accident. A property owner/occupant can be held liable for damages even if the injured person is partly at fault. No recovery is allowed if the Plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident.
For your convenience, our firm provides a questionnaire which lists much of the information we need to handle your personal injury or premises liability claim. It can be downloaded from our web site at www.tedbondjrpc.com or it can be mailed or faxed to you by request directed to (847) 599-9101.
TED BOND, JR. is the founder of the Law Offices of Thaddeus M. Bond, Jr. & Associates, P.C. A licensed Illinois attorney since May 1991, Ted has concentrated his practice in the areas of real estate law, civil litigation, worker’s compensation claims and personal injury law. Ted cares about his clients and promises prompt, courteous service.
Over his career, Ted has handled thousands of real estate transactions, successfully completing the transfer of all manner of property. As house counsel for the first and still one of the largest title insurance agencies in Illinois, Ted has an unsurpassed knowledge of the finer points of real estate law.
Ted began his legal career as house counsel for a large national insurance company. Since 1995, he has been engaged in private practice based in Lake County, Illinois. He has tried dozens of cases to verdict before judges, juries and administrative courts throughout Illinois. Ted also has vast experience before the Appellate Courts of Illinois. In 1998, he argued before the Illinois Supreme Court, a rare experience for the small firm practitioner.
Let Ted and his firm put their experience to work for you.
REFERRALS ARE OUR BEST SOURCE OF BUSINESS
If you are receiving this newsletter, one or more of the members of our firm has represented you in a past legal matter or dispute and we thank you for your business. Were you satisfied with the service you received and the results we obtained? Did you feel that our fees were fair and reasonable? If so, please feel free to refer our firm to your friends, family and acquaintances. We strive to make our clients happy and nothing says thank you better than repeat business or a referral.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Our firm handles a wide variety of cases. While we may have helped you in one area of the law, you may not be aware that we also handle:
- Real estate law
- Residential closings
- Commercial closings
- Landlord representation
- Title disputes and litigation
- Family law
- Child support
- Orders of protection
- Prenuptial agreements
- Personal Injury
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall
- Dog bites
- Products Liability
- Medical Malpractice
- Wrongful Death
- Worker’s compensation
- Civil litigation
- Wills and trusts
- Small business formation and representation
- Criminal Law and Traffic Violations: Although we do not handle these types of cases, we can refer you to competent legal counsel
INITIAL CONSULTATIONS ARE ALWAYS FREE
SE HABLA ESPANOL