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How do you prove property owner negligence in Illinois?

When Illinois residents are injured on another person’s property, certain circumstances may allow them to seek damages for their injuries. The Premises Liability Act of 1995 was enacted to ensure that all accident victims are able to seek and receive compensation for their injuries when they were caused by a negligent property owner. Whether a person is injured by a falling object at a local business, or by a dog attack at the house down the street, if they prove negligence then property liability laws will apply and they are likely to receive compensation.

Proving negligence is key

A key condition to any premises liability claim is proving that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous conditions that led to injury or death. In cases where the property owner was not in possession of the property, such as occurs when the property is under lease, the liability may shift to the possessor instead. Plaintiffs must also show that the owner or possessor knew or should have known that the injured party would not be aware of or recognize the danger but failed to take preventative action despite their knowledge. Without these key indicators of negligence, an injury claim is not likely to be successful.

Proving property owner negligence rests on a few more basic provable claims:

  • The accident occurred on the defendant’s property.
  • The defendant had a duty to maintain the property to keep it safe for any visitors.
  • The defendant failed to fulfil his or her duty.
  • The breach of duty caused or contributed to the accident that injured the victim.
  • The victim sustained real damages as a result of his or her injury.

In certain situations, the above laws do not apply. Property owners who allow public use of their land for recreation, including water use and off-roading, are not liable for any injuries parties may sustain while on their property. Additionally, only those with express or implied permission to be present on the property can claim the protections offered under these laws.

Possible ways to prove negligence

Proving that the property owner had actual knowledge or should have had knowledge of the conditions on their property may help many claimants with their case. To do this plaintiffs can prove that the dangerous conditions on the property were in existence for an extended period of time. Proving that the condition often occurred on the premises, or that the owner or possessor of the property admitted to knowledge of the conditions would also significantly help a claim.

Those who have been injured in a slip-and-fall or other potentially devastating accident should contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to discuss their accident and begin the claims process.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association – 1974-Present
Lake County Bar Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Lake County Bar Association Civil Trial and Appeals Committee
Federal Bar Association – Northern District of Illinois
Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States – May 28, 1991

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