Property Owner Liability in Illinois
If you’ve ever been injured on someone else’s property, Illinois law allows you to file a lawsuit against the property owner to recover damages.
Property owners in Illinois are responsible for maintaining their land and buildings. Whether it is an undeveloped piece of land, an office building, a home or a shopping mall, the property owner or renter must prevent it from falling into disrepair that can lead to injury or death; or they must warn visitors of the danger.
If you have been hurt or someone you love has been hurt or killed as a result of careless property maintenance or a failure to warn of dangers on a piece of property, contact Illinois premises liability attorney Christopher Dixon. For immediate assistance, call (312) 600-8054.
Establishing Illinois Premises Liability Claims
Traditionally, the duty that a property owner or renter owed to guests depended on whether the individual was an invitee, licensee or trespasser.
- A customer invited onto property would be included as an invitee.
- A social guest visiting a home would be considered a licensee.
- A person who had not been given permission to enter property would be categorized as a trespasser.
The legal duties owed and discussed are only applicable to those who have been given expressed or implied consent of the owner. Express consent means the property owner has given you verbal or written consent to be on their property. Implied consent mean the property owner’s consent is inferred, or they gave you permission via signage, their actions, or their inactions. Invitations as social guests, or plainly entering a property for a business or commercial purpose, fall under consent. Trespassing, or not having the expressed or implied consent of an owner to be on their property is normally not covered under premises liability claims, unless in an “attractive nuisance” situation.
The level of care an owner owed a person hurt on their property depended on whether the visitor was an invitee, licensee or trespasser. Generally, invitees and licensees were entitled to more protection. However, in 1984, Illinois abolished the distinction between invitees and licensees when it passed the Premises Liability Act. The law states that the duty owners or occupiers of land owe to invitees and licensees are one of “reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them.”
Liability for the injury to an invitee or licensee may be established under the Illinois Premises Liability law if:
- The owner or occupier knows or by the exercise of reasonable care would discover the condition, and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to such invitees;
- Should expect that they will not discover or realize the danger, or will fail to protect themselves against it; and
- Fails to exercise reasonable care to protect them against the danger.
Frequent Causes of Injuries on Property
There are several property conditions that lead to injuries. Some of the most common Illinois premises liability lawsuits arise from the injuries related to:
- Slip and fall related to water, snow, or ice accumulation – Poorly maintained sidewalks contribute to slip and fall injuries.
- Slip and fall on a poorly maintained staircase – Crumbling stairs and frayed carpeting are contributing factors to staircase falls.
- Slip and fall on construction debris or at construction sites – Debris in construction sites is common, but it can pose serious hazards to those working on and visiting the sites.
- Falling into trenches – Property owners who fail to rope or tape off dangerous holes and trenches on their property can be held liable for any injuries sustained.
- Dog bites – Dog owners are responsible for keeping their dogs leashed or barricaded from the public domain.
- Slip and fall on debris in store aisles – While stocking merchandise, store employees may leave debris in the aisle, which can cause a potential slip and fall incident.
- Swimming pools – Proper fencing is key to preventing injuries to children. Unfenced swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance,” and homeowners can be held liable for injuries sustained by children and adults alike.
- Trampolines – Like swimming pools, trampolines are considered an “attractive nuisance.” Property owners would be wise to put a trampoline into a fenced yard to prevent injuries.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries. If possible, try to take a picture of where you were injured, whether it’s a puddle of water, debris, or any unmarked hazard. Write down the contact information of anyone who witnessed your injury, and make a report with the store or property owner, if your injuries are not life threatening.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney
In Illinois, people who are injured on the property of another may seek damages for past medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. There is a two- year statute of limitations for premises liability cases. This means that you must file a lawsuit against a property owner within two years of being injured on their property. If this deadline is missed, you may be forever barred from recovering damages.
Get legal help as soon as you can. Illinois premises liability attorney Christopher Dixon can explain Illinois law, your rights, and the remedies you may be entitled to seek. Chris has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has recovered millions of dollars for injury victims. Call 312-600-8054 today for your FREE consultation. We’re available 24/7 to assist. We don’t get paid unless you win.