CHICAGO, IL – In Illinois, many tenants suffer from an injury due to their landlord’s negligence. This is a complex area of law that requires professional guidance to understand a tenant’s right to sue for personal injury on a rental property.
Landlord and tenant laws are based on old customs and are lightly regulated. This results in situations where landlords can neglect their properties and tenants with few, if any, consequences. Though most landlord negligence results in less-than-ideal living situations, some neglect can result in severe injuries like broken bones and concussions or even a fatality.
When can you sue your landlord for injury in Illinois?
Courts hold that tenants can make a personal injury claim against a landlord in the following situations:
- Under certain circumstances when a defective and dangerous condition exists;
- When the landlord acts carelessly and the careless act causes injury; and
- When a law, including the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO), imposes a specific responsibility on the landlord and gives a tenant the right to sue if the landlord fails to comply with the responsibility.
No Illinois statute governs personal injury claims against a landlord meaning lawsuits against a landlord for personal injury are based entirely on common law. The general rule regarding landlord liability for injury is based on negligence. For a landlord to be liable for negligence, the following conditions must be met:
- The landlord must have a duty of care to the injured party;
- The landlord must have breached that duty; and
- The breach of the duty must have caused, in a reasonably foreseeable manner, harm to the injured party.
These are the standard elements of a negligence claim for personal injury; however, things can take a turn when it comes to analyzing whether the landlord has a legal obligation to protect tenants and/or their guests.
There are exceptions to these rules that landlords have no liability for personal injury caused by defective conditions. It’s important you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago, Illinois who can advise you on the responsibilities of a landlord in the leased premises.
Landlords are responsible for personal injuries when they take action and act negligently
The general rule where a tenant is injured due to a dangerous and defective condition on the rental premises is known as premises liability. This type of claim exists when a landlord fails to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.
Landlords are liable for injuries if they act carelessly or negligently, and their careless acts cause foreseeable harm to other people, including tenants. This type of negligence claim is warranted when a landlord mounts a mailbox but only inserts the mounting halfway resulting in it collapsing, injuring the tenant. The landlord is responsible for the injury since inserting the bolts halfway is not reasonable and the harm was foreseeable which breaches their duty of care.
Landlord liability for personal injuries under the Chicago RLTO
The RLTO applies to almost all residential properties located within the Chicago city limits. There are exceptions to its application, but the only common one is that the RLTO doesn’t apply to units in owner-occupied buildings of six units or less.
The RLTO is useful in establishing an exception to the general Illinois rule that landlords do not have a duty to maintain their property in defective and dangerous conditions. The RLTO imposes duties to maintain on a landlord and those duties are imposed to ensure tenant safety.
The RLTO also contains a private right of action meaning tenants can sue their landlord for personal injuries under the RLTO itself. The RLTO imposes duties on a landlord, including a duty to maintain the premises of the Chicago Municipal Code.
The RLTO gives tenants a private right of action and states that if a tenant’s lawsuit is successful, they will be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees under the Chicago Municipal Code. Therefore, a Chicago tenant can sue a landlord for injuries under common law and RLTO. An RLTO claim allows tenants to recover their injuries, as well as receive an award of reasonable attorney fees.
Contact a Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyer today!
Though the general Illinois rule holding landlords responsible for injuries due to defective and dangerous conditions is restrictive, the exception allows a tenant to sue in various cases where injuries are caused by a failure to maintain.
If you have suffered personal injury in Chicago, Illinois, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. You may only have a limited amount of time to pursue a lawsuit for injuries under Illinois’ statute of limitations laws. Fill out this form or call (312) 384-1920 today for guidance on your rights, insurance filing requirements and legal options toward damage compensation.