Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Bar in Premises Liability Accident Based on Finding of Sufficient Warnings

Premises liability accidents involve situations where someone is hurt on another person’s property due to the failure of the owner or operator of the property to exercise reasonable care in keeping the premises safe. This means that a premises liability accident can happen virtually anywhere. After you are injured, it can be challenging to know the best way to go about collecting the compensation that you may be owed from a careless owner. At Therman Law Offices, our Chicago personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you explore your potential case and assert your rights.

In a recent claim, an Illinois Court of Appeal considered a case in which the plaintiff alleged that he was injured when he came into contact with a wall heater at the defendant’s establishment, a bar located in Pekin. The establishment had a beer garden functioning as an outdoor smoking area. In the smoking area, a gas-powered heater was mounted on the wall with a sign above it that said, “Heater is hot. We are not responsible for your silly ass getting too close!! Thanks, Pottsie’s.”

The plaintiff alleged that he backed up to the heater to get warm and was swaying back and forth as he was standing. He leaned back to scratch his shoulder and the flannel shirt that he was wearing caught fire due to coming into contact with the heater. He suffered injuries as a result of the incident. An EMT who responded to the accident recorded notes indicating that the plaintiff consumed approximately eight beers during the evening on which the accident took place. The plaintiff also admitted being intoxicated on the same evening.

The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the defendant was negligent because it did not provide adequate warnings about the heater and its dangers. The plaintiff pointed to the manual for the heater which instructed users to not place the heater in an area where people could walk close to it. The plaintiff argued that this created a duty of care between the defendant and patrons to have placed the heater in a different location or prevent people from getting close to it.

The defendant moved for summary judgment and concluded that the manual did not create a duty of care and that the plaintiff was fully aware of the danger and acted voluntarily in how he engaged with the heater. The lower court entered summary judgment in the defendant’s favor and the plaintiff appealed. On review, the appellate court concluded that summary judgment of the plaintiff’s claim was appropriate. Evidence in the record showed that the plaintiff was aware of the warning written above the heater, was aware that the heater got hot, and that the defendant had provided sufficient warnings regarding the heater’s dangers.

If you were hurt while visiting someone else’s property you may be entitled to compensation in a premises liability lawsuit. Our seasoned team of attorneys understands how painful and stressful this entire situation can be for you and your family. We provide a free consultation to help you understand the legal system and whether you have a viable claim against the owner or operator of the property where you were injured. Call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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