We have settled cases for people hurt in bicycle vs. car accidents, falls down stairs, work related injuries that happened all at once or over a period of years, and regular car accidents. In general, when you are injured by someone else in Illinois, even in Chicago, you are usually not entitled to recovery of your damages against that person unless you can prove they were negligent. This is often easier alleged than proven. Also, if you win your negligence lawsuit, the law does not say the negligent defendant has to pay your attorney fees.
But most rentals of Chicago apartments, condos, and houses, are covered by the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO). First, the RLTO specifically requires landlords to maintain the premises and common areas, and sets forth specific obligations of landlords to keep walls, stairs, common areas, and even parking garages in good condition.
Second, the RLTO provides that any plaintiff who prevails in applying their rights under the RLTO is also entitled to assessment against the landlord of their costs and reasonable attorney fees. Section 5-12-110(e) of the RLTO does say that a tenant can recover damages because of a landlord's material noncompliance with the RLTO, but the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled in that this section actually does not create a private cause of action for tenants, at least in lead poisoning cases. See Abbasi v. Paraskevoulakos, 187 Ill. 2d 386 (1999). Nobody knows for sure whether or not a tenant can recover their attorney fees in connection with being the prevailing plaintiff in a negiligence lawsuit where the landlord has materially failed to comply with section 5-12-070 of the RLTO.
Despite the advantages offered under the RLTO to victims of faulty electrical, fires, bad stairs, dangerous elevators, bad lighting, and biting insect or mold infiltration, most injury attorneys in Chicago still are unacquainted with this law, and do not attempt to invoke it for their clients.
We respond to inquiries by phone or email without charge for initial consultation about Chicago tenant laws. Usually we take Chicago rental injury cases on a contingent basis, meaning the renter pays no attorney fee unless they recover money. Sometimes the fee is paid directly by the landlord.
Other kinds of accidents we have helped clients with are work related injuries or occupational diseases, and also bicycle or pedestrian accidents, and where our clients were hurt in a car accident.