A Chicago apartment management company settled Tuesday a wrongful death suit brought by the mother of a 24-year-old who suffered a severe brain injury and ultimately death after falling from the second floor porch of his girlfriend’s apartment.
The case settled for $975,000. The action was brought by Sean Heflin’s mother, Jane Heflin, and alleged that the porch railings were about 10 inches lower than the 42 inches required by the Chicago building code. The suit was brought against the apartment building’s owner, Stammich Management.
In Illinois, violation of an ordinance, establishes “negligence per se.” In other words, the fact that the Management company maintained railings that were 10 inches lower than the Chicago building code conclusively creates a presumption that the management breached a duty to exercise reasonable care. At trial, the Plaintiff would still need to prove that the management company’s breach of the duty caused the injuries and that Plaintiff suffered damages.
In Maryland, the law is subtly different. Violation of a statute or ordinance does not constitute negligence per se, but is generally considered evidence of negligence. In other words, Plaintiff still needs to prove that the defendant maintained a duty and breached his or her duty in addition to proving causation and damages.
If you’ve been injured in an accident based on another’s negligence, contact the Brassel, Alexander & Rice for a free consultation.