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Premises Liability Law: Who is Responsible for a Slip and Fall?

Posted on in Personal Injury

premises liability law, slip and fall, Crystal Lake Personal Injury LawyerSlips and falls are of the most frequently suffered injuries. However, despite their common nature, they can lead to serious or even fatal injuries.

When these serious injuries occur, it is important for victims to know that they do have the opportunity to hold a party who caused the injury responsible. The legal system contains an expansive set of principles known as premises liability. Premises liability law imposes a legal responsibility on people who own or control land to ensure that the land is reasonably safe for people who enter onto the property.

The Duty of Landowners

A key factor to understand about premises liability is that it imposes a duty on landowners to keep their land safe. However, this duty is not always present. Instead, the duty only arises if an injured plaintiff can show three things. First, the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the defendant either knew about some hazard that presented a danger to visitors on the property, or, if the defendant did not know about the hazard, that they should have discovered it. Second, the plaintiff must show that the hazard that injured him or her was the sort of hazard that he or she would not expect or realize existed. Third, he or she must show that there was some sort of reasonable precaution that the defendant could have taken which would have prevented his or her injuries.

If the plaintiff can demonstrate all of the above criteria, then he or she will have successfully shown that the defendant failed to live up to the duty that the law imposes on them, and the plaintiff can recover for injuries caused by that failure.

Different Types of Victims

It is important to note that in the eyes of the law, not all victims are equal. The exact classes of victims change depending on the law of the particular state, so people researching this issue should make sure that they are looking at the appropriate law. In Illinois, the rule used to be that there were three classes of victims: trespassers, licensees and invitees. Licensees are people allowed to be on the land for social purposes, such as guests in a home, while invitees are people engaging in business on the land, such as customers in a store. It used to be the law that landowners owed increasingly strict duties to those classes, meaning that they had little duty to protect trespassers, more for licensees, and even more for invitees. The legislature changed that law, eliminating the distinction between licensees and invitees. However, it is still true that landowners owe a lesser duty to people who are injured while trespassing, with some limited exceptions.

Slip and falls and other accidents caused by unsafe premises can lead to serious injuries. If you were injured by the carelessness of a property owner, contact a dedicated Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer today.

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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