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The degree of care a property owner owes the public

A recent post on this blog discussed the fact that owners of land, including owners of homes and businesses, have a duty under Illinois law to protect those who come onto their property from any hazards that might be present there. For example, a failure to remove ice and snow from the entrance to a business could lead to a serious injury, and the business owner has the obligation to act reasonably to prevent that sort of injury from happening.

Traditionally, businesses and homeowners owed different degrees of care depending on the status of person who was visiting the premises. For example, an owner owed more care to a person specifically invited on to the premises as opposed to someone who simply had permission, or, in legal language, a license to be there.

Through a statute, Illinois has abolished this distinction. Today, business owners in Illinois must take reasonable care to protect anyone who has permission to be on their land from dangers like wet floors, uneven surfaces or falling objects.

The law did not, however, change the traditional obligation toward trespassers who do not have permission to be on the landowner's property. With respect to trespassers, a business owner need only refrain from "willful and wanton" conduct that would be likely to hurt them.

Since the vast majority of Illinois residents who visit a home or business in this state do so with permission, those who do have the misfortune of getting injured while on the premises of another may be able to hold the owner accountable for not making his or her premises reasonably safe.

  1. "Committed To My Cause"

    I was struck by a car while cycling and severely, almost fatally injured. A team of excellent medical professionals performed complicated and extensive surgical and medical procedures as part of a successful effort to restore my health....
    -Jeff D.

  2. "Could not have made a better choice"

    We found Mark [Mathys] through the web after an auto accident in October 2011. While selecting someone you don't know to represent you can be a gamble, we could not have made a better choice....
    - Dave

  3. "Very satisfied"

    Mark [Mathys] is very professional. He responds almost immediately, via email, to any question, comment or concern I have and if he is not able to respond right away, he will let me know. I have been very satisfied with Mark so far and I am happy to be his client.
    -Jennifer

  4. "Easy to talk to"

    Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid were very professional and easy to talk to. Prior to working with them, my wife and I had no real experience with the legal system beyond a house closing, yet Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid explained the whole process to us very well. I knew that whenever I had a concern about our case or the legal system in general I could call their office or send an email and receive answers the same day... -Larry

  5. "Provided very wise advice"

    I've dealt with attorneys on a variety of issues, almost all of them since leaving college and entering the workplace. Mr. Mathys was the first attorney I had any real experience with, and I was impressed then and remain so. He provided very wise advice and always kept me informed. In the end, he delivered a favorable result. I recommend him highly.
    - Tyler D.

  6. "In-depth knowledge of the law"

    Mark [Schneid] is an excellent and skilled attorney and demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the law when he helped settle my dog bite lawsuit resulting from a traumatic incident. He explained what was needed of me and how I should handle the situation in a professional manner.
    - Karen K.

  7. "They went to bat for me"

    Not long ago I was involved in a car accident where I was hit by a gravel truck at an intersection. After I called Mathys & Schneid, even though I didn't have a very large case, they made me feel like I was one of their most important cases. They went to bat for me with the trucking company's insurance and got me a settlement. I would definitely recommend them to my family and friends. -Dan H.

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