In Illinois, the law has long recognized limitations in premise liability claims that fall under what has come to be known as the ‘open and obvious doctrine.’ The basic idea behind this doctrine is that landowners should not be required to foresee or protect against injury when the openness and obviousness of a dangerous condition is so clear that an entrant should be to prevent their own harm through the exercise of ordinary care.
Essentially the rule allows landowners to defend claims by asserting that the duty of reasonable care does not extend to open and obvious hazards. As a result, property owners have often escaped liability, while premise liability claimants have been presented with obstacles to obtaining financial compensation. A bill introduced this year, though, seeks to amend Illinois’ Premises Liability Act by altering the manners in which duty of care issues are evaluated in open and obvious hazard cases. By increasing landowners’ exposure to liability, and decreasing preclusions and limitations on recovery for victims, we find that HB 1441 provides a more equal balance between the rights of each parties.