A Basic Guide to Premises Liability Law

Last updated 1 year ago

Premise liability is the body of law covering injuries that occur due to hazardous or improper conditions on the property of another. Premise liability covers a wide range of injuries that may stem from a number of causes, such as improperly maintaining property, improperly repairing property, improper supervision, or failure to warn of dangerous conditions. It is not limited to certain types of property; the owner of a house, parking lot, hotel, bar, retail store, or almost any other building or property can be held liable under this theory.

Common Injuries

While there are a wide variety of injuries that can occur under the theory of premise liability, some of the most common injuries include:

  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Inadequate security resulting in assault or robbery (normally in parking lots, hotels, bars).
  • Retail accidents (falling shelves or obstructed floors)
  • Sidewalk defects
  • Building code violations

Claimant Status

Premise liability can also depend on the status of the injured person. Typically there are three different distinctions amongst people on the property of another.

  • Invitee: someone who has been invited onto the property, usually for a commercial purpose, such as customers in a retail store.
  • Licensee: someone on the property with the consent of the owner, such as a social guest.
  • Trespasser: someone on the property without consent or the right to be on the property.

The standard of care a property must exercise with respect to each class of occupant differs. However, in Illinois the Premise Liability Act of 1984 (740 ILCS 130/2) abolished the differences between invitees and licensees, and imposed the standard of “reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them.” This includes the duty to warn invitees and licensees of dangerous conditions, and to make these conditions safe where possible. Even trespassers have to be warned if they are discovered in an area of danger on the property.

Premise liability is a complex body of law with many nuances and obscure rules. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, or would like to obtain professional representation for your personal injury case in the Chicago area, call Steve Malman  of Malman Law at (312) 983-6193. We provide legal services and no matter how big or small your case, we will fight to help you.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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