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Like anyone else in the State of Illinois, property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for anyone who happens to be legally visiting them. Among many other responsibilities, this includes an obligation to clean up liquid spills, loose carpeting, unsecured wires, and anything else that might cause someone to slip, fall, and injure themselves.

If you were hurt in a bad fall while on someone else’s property, you may have grounds to sue for civil compensation. However, not every slip or trip justifies legal action, which is why talking to a personal injury attorney about your situation may be important. After reviewing your case and determining whether you should move forward with it, a Hazel Crest slip and fall lawyer could help you pursue restitution for every injury and loss stemming from your accident.

Property Owner Liability for Different Visitors

Under Illinois state law, the standard of care that property owners and managers owe to visitors changes depending on why an individual visitor is on that property in the first place. Per 740 Illinois Compiled Statutes §§130/2 and 130/3 differentiate between people who are on property legally and people who do not have the owner’s permission to be on their property.

According to the former statute, property owners in Illinois must use “reasonable care” to protect any legal visitor to their property, whether they are an invitee or licensee, from any known hazards or hazards they reasonably should have been aware of. Conversely, the latter statute establishes that property owners owe no duty of care to trespassers unless they do something to intentionally harm said trespasser.

Typically, a slip and fall would be covered under the former statute, but there may be exceptions depending on the specific circumstances. It is generally worthwhile to talk to a skilled Hazel Crest attorney first before taking legal action independently.

Limitations on Recovering for a Slip and Fall

The Illinois Premises Liability Act establishes some exceptions to when a property owner may be liable for a legal visitor’s falling injury. Under this Act, property owners are not liable for harm stemming from “open and obvious” hazards, hazards the visitor already knows about, or any injury stemming from the visitor’s own reckless or careless actions.

Furthermore, a defendant may argue that an injured party bears some liability for their own injury—for instance, because they did not look where they were going or were not wearing appropriate footwear. If a court upholds this judgement and holds a plaintiff partially liable for their own injuries, 735 ILCS 5/2-1116 allows the court to reduce their damage award by their percentage of fault, or bar them from recovering entirely if that percentage exceeds 50 percent.

Finally, 735 ILCS 5/13-202 establishes a time limit of two years from the date of an injurious incident in which an injured person can file suit. Failure to abide by this statute of limitations may also prevent a plaintiff from recovering any compensation. Dedicated assistance from a trip and fall lawyer may be essential to maximizing a Hazel Crest plaintiff’s chances of a successful outcome.

Seek Professional Help from a Hazel Crest Slip and Fall Attorney

In the best-case scenario, a slip, trip, or fall in a public place leads only to momentary embarrassment, but in other cases it can cause serious damage that results in significant losses for you and your family. If you fell because someone else did not properly maintain their property, it may be important for you to consider taking civil action against that negligent party.

Once retained, a Hazel Crest slip and fall lawyer could walk you through all your legal options and work with you to pursue the one most likely to produce a positive outcome. Call today to set up a consultation and start discussing your case.