Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Summary Judgment in Favor of City in Slip and Fall Lawsuit

In a recent opinion from the Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, the plaintiff filed an action against the City of Danville (“the City”), alleging that she suffered injuries as a result of a trip and fall accident that occurred on a sidewalk area maintained by the City. According to her complaint, the plaintiff was shopping on one afternoon in 2012. When returning to her parked vehicle after leaving a store in the downtown district, she used a sidewalk to get to her vehicle, which was parked roughly five storefronts away. Then, the plaintiff walked at an angle as she approached the curb where her vehicle was parked. As she did so, she alleges that she stepped into roughly of an inch of water pooling on the sidewalk and to the right side of a lamppost embedded in the sidewalk. As she stepped into the water, the plaintiff claims that her left shoe struck an object that caused her to lose her balance. She then fell forward, striking her chin on the sidewalk.

The plaintiff received nine stitches in her chin to close the wound. Her complaint also alleged that she suffered severe bruising to her left foot, face, and arms. During the fall, two of her teeth were chipped, and she required dental work to address this injury. She also claimed to have suffered a partially dislodged crown that was also treated by a dentist.

The plaintiff sued the City, claiming that it was negligent in failing to repair what she described as the uneven seam along the edge of the sidewalk and the road, and this defect was the cause of her injury. The City filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that it was immune from liability under the Illinois Local and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. Specifically, the City cited Section 2-109 of the Act, which states that a government body cannot be held liable for injuries that result from an employee’s act or omission if the employee is not liable. An employee will not be liable when by reason of statute, the employee determines policy or exercises discretion.

The trial court granted the motion, finding that the City personnel responsible for evaluating and maintaining the sidewalks in the City exercised discretion when considering whether to repair or update certain portions of the sidewalk. The plaintiff appealed, and the appellate court affirmed, also concluding that the public works director who examined the sidewalk and determined that modifications were not necessary was acting in a discretionary capacity.

If you have been injured as a result of a property owner’s failure to maintain his or her premises in good repair and a safe condition, you may be entitled to compensation. Illinois provides protections for residents through premises liability actions, and the dedicated team of personal injury lawyers at Therman Law Offices has assisted many victims with pursuing the settlement or the judgment that they deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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