Whether you are visiting a friend or a commercial business, you have a reasonable expectation that the premises you visit will be well-maintained and not pose unknown risks. Unfortunately, a negligent landowner could overlook certain hazards, resulting in harm to visitors.
If you have been hurt while visiting the property of another, you should contact a Normal premises liability lawyer. An experienced injury attorney could discuss whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit.
What are the Types of Visitors?
Property owners have a heightened duty to provide a safe environment for some visitors, and little to no duty to others. Visitors are divided into three groups: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Generally, a property owner or landlord must ensure that a premise is reasonably safe for invitees and licensees but owe little to no duty to trespassers. A Normal attorney would need to discern whether a claimant was allowed to be on another’s premises at the time of the injury.
Invitees are invited onto the property by the landowner and are on the premises for business reasons that benefit the landlord. Examples of invitees are shoppers at a mall or grocery store, a contractor renovating a private home, or the FedEx delivery driver.
Licensees are also legally on the premises they visit. They may be making social calls or using facilities in businesses that offer them. Licensees include dinner guests in private homes and travelers who use the restroom at a gas station.
Trespassers are individuals who are not welcomed onto a property. An Illinois landowner may not engage in unreasonable, willful, or wanton conduct that would most likely harm a trespasser, and this may include a duty to exercise care in alleviating unreasonable risks the landowner may know about. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner is tasked with eliminating dangers reasonably ascertained as risks to child trespassers, such as the lure of residential swimming pools.
Common Property Hazards
Accidents on the property of another can involve natural and human-made problems. They may include:
- Flaws in the design of a building
- Lax security in public places such as at hotels and malls
- Slippery floors that are not cleaned up for hours
- Attractive nuisances such as ponds and caves
- Natural dangers such as dead tree limbs hanging over roads
- Poorly maintained residential and commercial properties
The most common premises liability accident is a slip-and-fall, which affects almost nine million people who visit hospital emergency rooms yearly in the United States. Falls can be caused by surfaces slick from a spilled product, low lighting, or worn flooring. Injuries impact skin, bones, and muscles, and may cause lacerations, scrapes, trauma, and sprains to the person who fell. An attorney in Normal could gather evidence to prove a property owner did not properly maintain their land.
Contributory Negligence in Normal
Illinois relies on the contributory negligence rule, which requires them to allocate the percentage of blame between the plaintiff and the defendant. A plaintiff who is careless or engages in unsafe or inappropriate conduct, such as ignoring posted warning signs, will find their settlement reduced by their percentage of fault the court determines. If the plaintiff is found liable for more than 50 percent of the blame in Illinois, the court will dismiss the action, and no settlement will be awarded.
Statute of Limitations
Premises liability falls under the umbrella of personal injury and negligence in Illinois. A lawyer will generally have two years from the incident to file a premises liability claim under the Illinois statute of limitations. Note, in some cases a different statute may apply, like cases involving minors or cases where the premises owner is a unit of government. If you have a question about what statute of limitations may apply, you should talk to an experienced lawyer who can advise you about what deadlines apply to your situation.
Reach Out to a Normal Premises Liability Lawyer for Guidance
If you were harmed on another person’s property, a Normal premises liability lawyer could advise you on your best course of action. An attorney could gather evidence to prove you were allowed to be on the property at the time of the accident and that the landowner failed in their duty to protect you from certain hazards. Schedule your initial case consultation for free.