The old Ravenswood Hospital building on Chicago's Northside with a history of code violations leads to teenage boy's death. Being a resident of Chicago's Northcenter neighborhood, I have traveled down Wilson Ave many times. One cannot drive through Ravenswood on Wilson Ave without noticing the abandoned and neglected old Ravenswood Hospital building. The building is located at 1931 W. Wilson Ave. A tragic death occurred on Monday when a 16 year old boy entered this unsecured building. The boy was identified as Jose Morales, from Chicago's Northwest Side. It is reported that Morales and his two friends entered the abandoned building through an unsecured entrance. While inside the building, it is reported that, Morales fell through a hole from the second floor to the concrete on the ground level. The teen sustained severe internal injuries from the fall. Jose Morales died at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center from severe internal injuries. He was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. Given the building's record of problems, should something have been done sooner to secure the site? Who is responsible for the wrongful death of this teenager?
As a Chicago personal injury law firm with years of experience, we have handled similar premises liability cases. In order to successfully win a premise liability case, you have to show the following: (1) a defective condition existed on the property; (2) you have to show that the negligent party had “notice” of the defective condition before, not after the accident. That can be shown by actual notice, where they actually knew of the defective condition, or constructive notice, where the condition existed for a long enough time that the premises owner in exercising due care, should have known of the defective condition; (3) that the negligence of the premises owner was a proximate cause of the injuries or death of the person. In a case involving the death of this minor child who wandered onto a dangerous premises, liability can also be proven by showing that the landlord failed to adequately secure the dangerous property, allowing children to come onto the property and face peril due to its dangerous condition.
According to news and police reports, neighbors have notified the police on several occasions that teenagers have been able to enter the building through non secured windows. According to one neighbor she made a 311 call to the city in December and the owners of the building. The building owned by Lycee Francais, a French-language elementary and high school, according to official records. The building has a history of violations.
Previous violations are listed below:
- The owners were cited for unsecured entrances in late December. The city determined that the building's owner had not properly secured the entrances to the property.
- The owners were also given a 15-day notice to correct the code violations in March. After the site was inspected at the end of the month, it was found to be secured.
- Two young adults were able to enter the building in June. They were arrested on charges of criminal trespassing, according to court records. The records show that the teens were in the building even though it was boarded up.
Retaining an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer is critical to proving all of the elements necessary to be successful on these types of cases. Hiring a lawyer early on will allow that lawyer to preserve essential evidence, sometimes by court order. Many times, conditions on the premises change and key evidence which is vital to proving a case can be lost if a lawyer for the injured person is not retained early on.