What Are Some Defenses to Slip and Fall Cases in Illinois?

Anticipating how a landowner will defend a slip and fall claim can help strengthen the demand of a person injured on another’s premises. Building a case that will defeat the premises owner’s arguments will help maximize the amount of damages for a person injured on another’s property in Illinois.

Landowners often argue that they had no duty to protect the injured person, and therefore, they should not have to compensate the injured victim. Instead of accepting responsibility for what happened, they blame the victim. Illinois law permits landowners and occupants of premises on which someone sustained an injury to argue that the slip and fall accident or another incident on their premises is not their responsibility because the danger was “open and obvious” or was “Volenti Non Fit Injuria.”

Landowners are not liable for injuries caused by hazards on their property that were open and obvious. People visiting the property of another must protect themselves from danger and watch out for harmful conditions or do anything that might harm themselves. Otherwise, the landowner will not be responsible for the damages the injured person suffered. 

Illinois law recognized two exceptions to that general rule. The landowner will be liable for damages if the condition of the premises is so dangerous, that the injured victim acted carefully and still suffered an injury or died, even though the hazardous condition was an open and obvious danger.  

The second exception to the open and obvious danger rule under Illinois law exists when an open and obvious danger injured the victim, but the hazardous condition was caused by a violation of the law, such as a building code violation. In other words, the landowner must have “clean hands” to hide behind the protection afforded by the open and obvious danger defense.

“Volenti Non Fit Injuria,” roughly translated, means no injury occurs to a willing participant. The legal doctrine is similar to the open and obvious danger defense. Volenti Non Fit Injuria disqualifies an injured person from recovering monetary damages against the landowner if the victimized person placed himself or herself in a position to get hurt.  


Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Personal Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at 312.422.0500.

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