Who Is Responsible if I Get Injured at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago?

The Chicago O’Hare International Airport is one of the world’s top 10 busiest airports, with annual traffic approaching 75 million passengers. Because of this, frequent injuries are inevitable. Injuries occur to passengers, staff, and visitors. You need to understand your legal options if you suffer an injury there.

Possible Defendants

In case you get hurt at O’Hare, possible defendants include:

  • The City of Chicago: The owner and operator of the airport.
  • An airline: Airlines are responsible for the safety of passengers while they are boarding and deplaning, as well as while they are on board their aircraft.
  • Vendors and contractors: Airport restaurants, for example, are responsible for the safety of their food.
  • Other passengers, if they cause injury through misconduct.

In many cases, you can file a claim against more than one party at the same time.

Theories of Liability

To file a viable personal injury claim, you need to explain why the party you are claiming against should bear liability. Below are some common theories of liability:

Premises Liability

The owner (or operator) of physical premises—in this case, the City of Chicago–has a duty to perform a reasonable inspection of their property. They must either repair any dangerous conditions or warn people of any dangers if repair is not feasible.

If the property owner or operator fails to meet this duty and someone gets hurt, the injured party can sue the property owner. What’s more likely to happen is that the injured party will use the threat of a lawsuit as leverage to negotiate a settlement. 

If your injury arose from the conditions of the premises maintained by the airport, this strategy might be your best bet.

Suing the government

The problem with suing the airport itself is not money–the airport will certainly have the money to pay your claim. The problem is that the law restricts the ability to sue a government, including the City of Chicago. The rationale behind these restrictions is that since taxpayers fund the government, to sue the city for money damages is to sue the taxpayers–potentially including even yourself.

In particular, you must file a Notice of Claim with the Illinois Court of Claims within a year of your injury. You must also comply with the Illinois civil statute of limitations deadline, normally two years after the accident. Limitations on the amount of compensation also apply—you cannot sue for punitive damages, for example. 

Employer’s Vicarious Liability for Employee Misconduct

If an airport or airline employee injured you through negligence or other misconduct, you can sue their employer, as long as the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of their misconduct. This should ensure that you can sue a party who can actually afford to pay your claim.

Product Liability

Your injury might have arisen from the malfunction of a defective and unreasonably dangerous product. In this case, your best option might be to sue the product manufacturer. You might even be able to sue the distributor of the product, all without proving fault.

Workers’ Compensation

You might file a workers’ compensation claim if you are injured while working at O’Hare. You can win such a claim without even proving that your employer was at fault. However, your compensation for a workers’ compensation claim is likely far less than the amount you could demand in a personal injury lawsuit. 

Third-party workplace injury claims

As an injured worker, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer under most circumstances. You can file a lawsuit, however, if you can identify a third party who is responsible for your injury. 

Contributory Fault

Contributory fault is a legal doctrine that applies if you are partially at fault for your own injuries. You are ineligible for compensation if you were more than 50% at fault under state law. However, if you were 50% or less at fault, you would lose exactly that percentage of your compensation.

You’ll Probably Need a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer To Help You Assert a Persuasive Claim

If you suffer an injury at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, you’re going to need to know who to blame, how to assert your claim against them, and how much money to demand

A Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you with all of these tasks. They can also negotiate your claim for you.

Contact Our Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Chicago, Illinois, and need legal help, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Cook County and its surrounding areas:

Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
134 N La Salle St #2160
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 929-2884