Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Defendants in Parking Lot Trip and Fall Case

One of the most common types of injuries that Chicago residents experience are slip and fall accidents. As seasoned Illinois slip and fall lawyers, we have reviewed many cases involving these accidents and know exactly what it takes to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you are owed. One of the most difficult aspects of any trip and fall case is determining whether the defect that caused your injury was a defect that the defendant should have either addressed or warned against.

A recent lawsuit highlights the importance of this issue. The plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries after stepping into a pothole located in a parking lot, resulting in a fall. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the purported owners of the parking lot, an LLC and a Corporation. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants failed to maintain the parking lot and failed to provide a warning against the pothole. Both defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which asks the court to conclude that there are no factual disputes and that the party bringing the motion is entitled to judgment in its favor.

In their motion, the defendants argued that the pothole was de minimis and that it did not rise to the level of a defect for the plaintiff’s claim. More specifically, the defendants stated that any defect that is under two inches tall cannot be considered an actionable defect in a premises liability case. The defendants offered testimony from the owner of both the LLC and the Corporation. In his testimony, he alleged that the pothole was roughly half an inch. The trial court took this statement of fact as uncontroverted.

The lower court granted the motion, entering a judgment on behalf of the defendants. The plaintiff appealed. On review, the appellate court reversed, finding that evidence in the record created a factual dispute about the height of the pothole. The plaintiff testified that although she was not sure exactly how deep the pothole was, the pothole was large enough for the two-inch heels she was wearing to become stuck in the pothole. Additionally, the appellate court challenged the sufficiency of the owner’s testimony, which did not explain how he reached the conclusion that the pothole was half an inch tall. The appellate court also rejected the defendant’s argument that the pothole was of a de minimis nature and not actionable. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the order entering summary judgment in favor of the defendants and remanded the matter for a new trial.

If you have been injured as a result of a careless landowner’s failure to maintain its premises, you may be entitled to compensation. At Therman Law Offices, we have assisted many Chicago victims with reviewing their potential premises liability claims, gathering evidence, retaining expert witnesses, and negotiating with insurance companies. We understand how stressful this situation is for you and your family, especially if your injuries have prevented you from working or engaging in your usual activities and responsibilities. We provide a free consultation to help you learn more about your legal rights and how we can assist you. Call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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