If you have suffered an injury while walking along a public sidewalk in Illinois, you may have a claim for damages. To succeed, you have to prove that the injuries you suffered were a result of negligence on the part of the person or entity that was in control of the sidewalk. In the case of one Northern Illinois woman, she received a six-figure settlement from one Will County city after she slipped and fell due to a sidewalk hazard, according to a patch.com report. The substantial settlement in this case serves as a reminder of the significant amount of damages that may result from these types of injuries. If you’ve been hurt walking on a public sidewalk, you should reach out right away to a Chicago premises liability lawyer about your situation.
The recently settled case involved a sidewalk injury suffered by a pedestrian named Estella, who was walking along a sidewalk near a bus station when she slipped and fell. As the pedestrian passed in front of a funeral home, she encountered an area of sidewalk that was allegedly improperly maintained. Specifically, the problem was where an old sign for the bus provider had stood. At some point, the sign was removed, but the “anchor” into which the sign was placed was not. This remnant from the old sign protruded from the ground and was the hazard that eventually caused Estella’s fall and subsequent injuries, according to her lawsuit.
In Illinois, you can pursue a claim for a public sidewalk injury like Estella’s if you can demonstrate certain things to the court. You have to establish that the entity responsible for the sidewalk was negligent in some way. In sidewalk cases like this, that generally involves failing to take proper action either to repair a dangerous condition in the sidewalk or to warn users of the sidewalk about that hazard. A successful case also will involve proof that the entity responsible for the sidewalk either knew about the problem or reasonably should have known about the hazard.
In some cases, the property owner or other defendant will attempt to demonstrate either that the hazard was too minimal to create potential liability or that the problem was so “open and obvious” that you should have taken action to avoid it, which would also mean that the entity is not liable and you cannot recover damages. Regarding minimal hazards, Illinois law does not have a specific measurement beneath which a hazard qualifies as minimal or trivial. That means that there are many different ways that you can show, even if the condition that felled you was not large or deep, that it was still big enough to allow for an award of compensation.
With regard to open and obvious hazards, the law says that a condition must be both to bar you from recovering damages. There might be many reasons, including lighting, shadows, sight lines, surface painting, or other surroundings, why a hazard might be open but not necessarily obvious. If it isn’t obvious, you can still possibly recover.
In Estella’s case, the plaintiff’s side had enough proof that the city chose to settle the case, agreeing to pay the woman’s estate $100,000.
The skilled Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca have been helping injured Illinoisans recover the compensation they deserve through the legal system for many years. If you’ve suffered an accident and been hurt, our team can help you with your injury case at every step of the way. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Six Airline Employees Injured in Bus-Versus-Baggage-Cart Collision at O’Hare Airport, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, April 11, 2018
4 precautions to prevent slip-and-falls during winter, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Feb. 8, 2015