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Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Premises Liability Action Based on Staircase Fall, Due to Lack of Proof Showing a Dangerous Condition

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Although you may believe that other people’s residences and properties are safe and free of dangers, there are all too many legal actions that involve sudden slip and fall injuries in the Chicago area. As dedicated Chicago premises liability lawyers, we are ready to assist you with understanding your legal rights following an unexpected and avoidable accident.In a recent appellate action, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against two defendants after falling while visiting their property. The plaintiff was a certified nursing assistant rendering health care services in-home. The plaintiff was working for the defendants and caring for one of the defendants’ grandparents. When the plaintiff would arrive, she would enter through the front entrance and exit through the front entrance. This required walking up and down a flight of stairs that led to the porch.

Evidence in the trial record indicated that the plaintiff became friends with one of the defendants. They made social visits on occasion, including some social visits at the defendant’s home. During one of these social occasions, the defendant’s dog was standing next to the plaintiff on the porch as the plaintiff prepared to leave. The plaintiff testified that she moved her foot when the dog came to stand beside her, and her foot went off the edge of the porch, causing her to fall down the stairs.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that there was no dangerous condition on the property and that even if there was a dangerous condition, it was or should have been obvious to the plaintiff. The plaintiff challenged the motion for summary judgment, claiming that an issue of fact existed as to whether or not the defendant’s dog caused her to become distracted or otherwise contributed to her fall. The lower court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff admitted in her deposition testimony that there was nothing dangerous about the condition or design of the staircase or patio. The plaintiff filed an amended complaint, and an additional series of motions was filed. The trial court again concluded that the plaintiff had not set forth any additional facts that would give rise to a cause of action.

The plaintiff appealed, and the reviewing court upheld the lower court’s conclusions, finding that the plaintiff did not show that the staircase or patio region contained a dangerous condition. Nothing in the record showed that the dog was out of control or exhibiting erratic or startling behavior that would cause the plaintiff to become distracted.

If you suffered injuries on another person’s property, you may be entitled to relief through a premises liability action. As Chicago premises liability lawyers, we proudly help individuals navigate the legal system, investigate their potential claims, gather evidence, and pursue the outcome that they deserve. While you are coping with your painful injuries and the related disruptions in your life, we will fight vigorously on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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