Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Defendant in Trip and Fall Case at Food Pantry

Most people have experienced some type of trip and fall in their lives. In most cases, the tumble can be harmless leaving you with a few bumps and bruises. In others, it can result in devastating injuries and even permanent disabilities. Although some trips are attributable to unforeseen circumstances, there are some situations where the property owner of the pace where the trip and fall took place was careless in maintaining the property. In this situation, the victim may have a claim to recover compensation for his or her trip and fall accident. Our dedicated team of Chicago premises liability attorneys is standing by to assist you with determining whether you are owed compensation.

The Illinois appellate court considered a claim recently involving a man who reportedly tripped through the doorway of a pantry where he was entering and exiting to retrieve donated food items. The plaintiff sued the food bank seeking damages for the lacerations and scarring that resulted to his face after the fall. He alleged that the owners of the pantry were negligent in maintaining the premises particularly when it came to the doorway. Plaintiff had been walking across a landing and down a set of stairs to a basement that housed the food pantry. Roughly 100 other people were waiting to accept food. The plaintiff asked for a box to help him carry his items, which he estimated to be roughly 20-pounds in weight. He held the box in front of his stomach with both hands as he walked.

The plaintiff alleged that he began speaking to someone who was holding the door open as he was leaving the pantry. He said this distracted him and that as he crossed the threshold, he felt a sudden drop and lost his balance, causing him to fall to the left.

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on several bases. It argued that it had no duty to maintain the area where the fall took place because it rented the pantry area in the basement instead of the whole building. It argued in the alternative that the danger was an open and obvious condition. The plaintiff had crossed over the threshold on his way to the pantry and was aware of its nature and design.

The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on proceedings that happened in open court. The plaintiff appealed but did not include any report of the proceedings that took place at court. The appellate court ultimately affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the defendant. It agreed with the defendant’s arguments, among other bases, that the defendant was not liable for the plaintiff’s injury.

If you were hurt as the result of a poorly maintained property, you may be entitled to premises liability injury compensation. Therman Law Offices has assisted numerous individuals throughout Illinois and Chicago with understanding their rights and the best way to go about asserting them. We provide a free consultation to discuss your situation. Call us as soon as possible at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.