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Property owners may have a duty to ensure guest safety

Illinois readers likely know that property owners might be liable, under certain circumstances, for any injuries their guests receive on their property. The legal concept for this rule is called premises liability. Under state law, a property owner must take reasonable precautions to make property safe for invited guests and to remove any dangerous conditions. Any breach of that duty might be seen as negligence in the eyes of a jury.

For example, a customer that slips on an object or on a slippery patch of floor in a store might have a valid premises liability claim against the owner, depending on additional facts. A property owner's duty of care applies to both private and commercial property locations, to the extent that guests were invited on the property.

The same can also be said of playgrounds in schools and in public parks. It is expected that children will play on playground equipment. For that reason, the property owners -- in this case, municipal governments -- must take reasonable steps to ensure the equipment is safe.

However, according to findings presented at the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons convened in Chicago, playground equipment accidents rank among the top eight injury-producing activities in children. Illinois pedestrians also continue to sustain injuries from poorly maintained sidewalks and public walkways. Fortunately, when slip-and fall or other types of injuries on property do occur, an attorney will know what evidence is required to demonstrate to a jury that an owner's failure to correct a dangerous condition amounts to negligence -- and legal liability.

Source: Medscape Today, "Emergency Visits for Children's Sports Injuries Waning," Kathleen Louden, March 28, 2013

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