Premises-Liability

Business and property owners have a duty to keep their properties reasonably safe, so as to prevent harm from befalling their guests. If a property owner fails to take reasonable care, the state of Illinois may hold them accountable for damages that arise. However, “reasonable care” looks different in every situation. To help deciding parties set the standard for reasonable care, the state has provided the Illinois Premises Liability Act. In this post, we’ll discuss this Act and how it may impact your case.

At Dwyer & Coogan, we help injured parties better get the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured due to another’s actions or negligence, contact us today for a free consultation.

Duty to Invitees & Licensees

The first section of the Illinois Premises Liability Act distinguishes between invitees and licensees—or, rather, it does away with the distinction. Thanks to the 1995 amendment of the act, Illinois now upholds property owners to the same standard of care for both individuals who visit a property for the benefit of the property owner (invitee) and guests who are there for their own amusement (licensee).

Entrants who fall into either category should be able to enjoy their time on a property that has been properly maintained and rid of hazards. These entrants are also entitled to prior knowledge of known defects or hazards. That said, property owners do not have a duty to do any of the following:

  • Warn entrants or take reasonable steps to protect entrants from hazardous conditions that are exposed and obvious or that any person should be able to reasonably discover on his or her own
  • Warn entrants of latent dangers or defects or dangers, or defects of which the property is not aware of
  • Warn entrants of possible dangers that may arise from the misuse of the property or any object on or attached to the property
  • Protect entrants from their own misuse of the premises or any object on or attached to it

Duty to Trespassers

Illinois property owners do not owe any duty to adult trespassers, save to refrain from willful or wanton conduct that would compromise the wellbeing of the trespasser. Willful and wanton conduct may involve an activity done by the owner or occupier of the premises or it may involve a condition of the property.

Though this portion of the legislature relieves property owners from liability for harms sustained by adult trespassers on their properties, it does no such thing when a child trespasser is involved.

Recreational Visitors

The Illinois Premises Liability Act also details what duty property owners have to those who use their premises for off-roading or shooting firearms. The act clearly states that property owners who open their lands for off-roading are immune from criminal liability that arise from noise or sound emissions. Said property owners are also not liable for any public nuisance or private trespass. They may, however, be held liable in the event that a licensee engages in willful and wanton conduct outside the normal use of the facility.

The owners of firearm ranges enjoy the same immunities as those of off-roading facilities. The Act does, however, clarify the requirements that owners of off-roading facilities and firearm ranges must take to enjoy the aforementioned immunities.

Work With an Illinois Premises Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one sustained an injury on another person’s property, you may be able to sue the owner for damages. However, before you do, it is imperative you understand both your rights and the property owner’s rights. Our Chicago premises liability lawyers can help you do both. Contact Dwyer & Coogan today to learn more about how we can help you.