As the holidays near, so do holiday-related injuries. One of the most common injuries is falls.

In cases where parties fail to exercise safety measures to prevent falls and other incidents, it may be possible to seek restitution. There are a few key facts to understand regarding premise liability claims in Illinois.

By definition

In short, premise liability is a property owner’s responsibility for injuries on her or his property. Depending on what type of property it is and the visitor’s classification, the level of liability may vary.

Duty

The Illinois Premise Liability Act details when a property owner is responsible for, or “owes a duty to,” the individuals who step onto the property. Visitor classification is key to determining the level of duty. For instance, even if a person trespasses on a property, there is a certain duty a property owner has. However, that duty is not as high as for a guest who is welcome on the property. Therefore, a property owner’s level of liability for his or her dog biting a trespasser verses a visitor may differ. It is also important to note that a visitor’s classification can change. During business hours, a shopper is a welcomed visitor, but that same shopper would be a trespasser after business hours.

Proof

In a premise liability case, the claimant must show the property owner’s negligence. To accomplish this, the claimant must prove a few things:

  • The property owner’s legal duty of safety
  • The property owner’s breach of said duty
  • The breach led to or contributed to injury
  • The injury resulted in damages

Along with the classification of the visitor, one of the most important elements of the case is being able to identify the cause of the fall. This determines if the property owner was truly negligent, or if it was the fault of the injured party.

These are a few of the main things to know about premise liability claims. It may also be beneficial to review the law in full to understand all its elements and to see how it relates to your case.

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