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Determining liability in a premises liability claim

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Posted on May 16, 2018

Premises liability law in Illinois states that every property owner, as well as every non-owner resident, has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment. This means that they may be held liable for any accidents or injuries that happen on the property. There are five principal ways that liability is determined.

The first is determining the victim’s legal status as an invitee, licensee or social guest. There is no implied promise that licensees can use a property. Invitees and social guests have a stronger case if they are injured. The second is determining the property’s condition and the victim’s actions. If the victim used the property unreasonably, no claim is possible. If the property had something wrong with it, the owner must be given a reasonable amount of time to fix it.

The third way is determining if the victim is a trespasser or a child. Sometimes, property owners have a duty to warn trespassers. A duty to children is part of what’s called the attractive nuisance doctrine. The fourth way could be taken if both parties are at fault; most states, in fact, have a comparative fault system in place. Lastly, there are special rules for landlords if their tenants are injured.

Those who are thinking about filing a premises liability claim would do well to hire an attorney beforehand. An attorney can evaluate the claim and calculate a fair amount for compensation, which could cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. If the other side is willing to settle out of court, the attorney can speak at the negotiation table, revealing all the proof of negligence that has been brought together by investigators and other experts. If not, the victim and attorney could go ahead with litigation.