Duty Owed to Trespassers – Injury on Someone Else’s Property

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If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover payment for medical costs, lost wages, disability and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of life.

Illinois law imposes a duty on property owners and occupiers that varies depending on the status of the person that enters the premises. The law does differentiate between people who are invited, people who are licensed to enter, and people who are trespassing.

In regards to people who are permitted on a property – invitees or licensees – the owner or occupier has a duty to take reasonable care to cure any dangers or defects on the property known to the owner, or warn entrants about unsafe conditions of which the owner or occupier has knowledge, and that the entrants could not reasonably be expected to discover for themselves that could foreseeably cause injury. If the owner or occupier fails to meet their duty, he or she may be deemed negligent and held liable for injuries to the invitee or licensee.

When it comes to trespassers, owners or occupiers generally do not owe a duty of care to trespassing adults except to refrain from willfully and wantonly injuring him or her. The usual meaning assigned to “willful or wanton” goes beyond negligence and includes a disregard of the risk known to the owner or occupier or so obvious that owner or occupier must have been aware of it, and the risk is so great that it is reasonable that harm would result from it.

To fall under the standard of liability for willful and wanton conduct, a property owner or occupier must have actual or constructive notice that a trespasser is on the premises. Actual notice is when the owner or occupier has concrete knowledge that the trespasser is on the property, either by seeing the trespasser or being told there’s a trespasser. Constructive notice refers to when a property owner or occupier should have known a trespasser was there.

There are a few exceptions to the general rule limiting the landowner’s duty to trespassers.

  • Property owner or occupier must use ordinary care to avoid injury to the trespasser who has been discovered in a place of danger on the premises
  • Property owner or occupier owes a duty of ordinary care to those who are frequent trespassers in a limited area where the property owner or occupier knows, or have reason to know, of the trespasser’s presence.
  • Property owner or occupier who maintains a dangerous activity on the premises has a duty to warn on a person when the property owner or occupier is aware of the possibility that others will come into dangerous proximity of the condition

If you have been injured on someone else’s property you may be able to recover payment for your loss. The experienced personal injury lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC can discuss with you your options for compensation. Give us a call at (312)223-1700 for a free consultation today.

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