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Chicago premises liability attorneysThe basic concept of premises liability means that a property owner can be held liable for injuries occurring on his or her property. In most personal injury cases involving premises liability, however, the injured party must show the owner or occupier of the property was negligent or committed a willful act that caused the injuries. Such cases often hinge on the idea of foreseeability and whether the owner of the property should have reasonably expected the consequences that occurred as a result of his or her negligence or actions.

Understanding Foreseeability

In a retail setting, for example, if a store employee mops a floor and fails to place “wet floor” warning signs, a slip and fall injury would almost certainly be foreseeable. Slip and fall accidents are common on wet floors, and store employees are expected to take precautions to prevent injuries. The responsibility for the injury would likely extend to store management or ownership for unsafe practices.

Conversely, consider an example in a grocery store that carries a particular brand of salad dressing containing peanuts. The dressing is packaged in glass bottles. A child running through the aisles of the store knocks a bottle of the shelf, and it explodes on the floor, splashing dressing into the eyes of nearby shopper who happens to have a severe peanut allergy. If the shopper then experiences an allergic reaction and is injured, he or she may try to hold the store owner liable. However, the store owner would certainly be able to argue that there was no way to foresee such an unusual combination of circumstances and that the shopper’s injuries were not due to negligence or actions on the part of the owner.

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