I got called by someone the other day who was beat up on the CTA red line and wanted to sue the Chicago Transit Authority because it happened on their property. A month ago a woman was was sexually assaulted outside her apartment wanted to sue the building owner and asked for our help. That same week a woman who fell down the stairs at her friend’s house when a railing broke called me looking for legal advice. I was only able to help one of them.
To sue anyone for personal injury, you have to show that they were somehow negligent. Getting hurt on their property does not make them liable under Illinois law. You need to show negligence too.
So the guy who got beat up on the el train doesn’t have a case because the CTA had no way of knowing it was going to happen and they don’t have to provide security on every train. If CTA staffers were watching it all go down it might be a case, but that’s not what happened here.
The woman who was sexually assaulted also doesn’t have a case. It was a stranger who followed her home that assaulted her. It’s awful that this happened to her, but there was nothing that the building owner did that lead to this happening. It would have been different if the door lock was broken and that allowed the criminal to get in. Again, you have to show some sort of negligence.
Finally, the woman who fell down the stairs does appear to have a case. A property owner has a duty to maintain their residence. If a railing breaks that is most likely due to some negligence and assuming there’s an injury, you can sue them and their homeowner’s insurance would likely have to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and any pain and suffering.
The bottom line is that getting hurt on someone else’s property is not enough to bring a case. You need to show negligence as well. So it’s important to get all of the facts and see if we can make a case.
If you have questions or would like to talk to an attorney for free, call us any time at (312) 346-5320. We cover all of Illinois.