Not everyone who enters onto the property of another person has the right to be there. For example, if an Illinois resident sees a “no trespassing” sign and elects to enter that land, they may waive their right to seek compensation for any injuries they sustain while traversing the land.
Trespassing is a crime and generally does not afford an individual legal protection from harm and loss. Under the theory of premises liability law, property owners are tasked with keeping their land safe for individuals they know and expect to be visiting it. This can include individuals who are specifically invited to be on the land and individuals who have a license to be there from the landowner.
Consider a business owner who opens their store to the public for shopping. They may invite their employees and customers to be on their property and give others license to do work at their business site. These expected visitors and invitees are granted protection from dangers lurking on the property that the owner knows or should know about and that should be remedied for their safety.
However, if after hours, the business owner bars entry to their property to perform maintenance and a trespasser enters the premises and falls, that trespasser likely could not seek compensation from the property owner. They had no right to be in the business and, therefore, the property owner had no expectation at that time to keep their premises safe.
All premises liability cases are best discussed with attorneys who understand slip and fall cases, as each situation can be different. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a particular case is important before plotting a path forward.