Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Summary Judgment for City in Trip and Fall Case where Plaintiff Parked Illegally

When you are injured on someone else’s property, you can bring a personal injury action against the owner of the property to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. In cases where the injury takes place on a publicly maintained property, however, different issues may arise regarding liability and the evidence that you have to establish to show that the municipality or government entity failed to use due care in maintaining the property. At Therman Law Offices, we are prepared to help you with your Chicago premises liability claim after a careless governmental entity failed to protect you from preventable danger.

In a recent case, the plaintiff appealed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Chicago in her lawsuit, where she alleged that the City failed to maintain one of its streets in a reasonably safe condition causing her to slip and fall into a large hole. The plaintiffs alleged that summary judgment was not proper because the plaintiff was an intended and permitted user of the street where the fall took place.

According to the City, it did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care to maintain the street in a safe condition because the plaintiff was not a permitted user of the street. It argued that its duty to maintain property was limited by the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, which provides that a plaintiff must be a legally intended and permitted user of a property before the government entity can be subject to liability for any resulting injuries. It further alleged that the plaintiff was parked illegally under state law because she parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and that her vehicle was in a yellow-painted no-parking area.

The plaintiff responded by arguing that the pothole was located in an area where parking was permitted and that as a direct result pedestrians would be traveling through the area. According to the plaintiff, pedestrians exiting and returning to their vehicles were intended and permitted users of the parking lot.

The trial court ultimately granted summary judgment for the City on the basis that the plaintiff’s violation of the parking ordinance prohibiting parking within close proximity to a fire hydrant in a yellow no parking zone removed her from the scope of intended and permitted users protected by the statute. On appeal, the reviewing court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in the City’s favor finding that the plaintiff was not an intended and permitted user because she violated the parking ordinance by parking in a zone where parking was not permitted.

If you were injured on public property it is important that you consult a seasoned and experienced Chicago premises liability attorney to determine whether you have a viable cause of action against the government entity that failed to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. Our team of legal professionals offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and whether we can assist you. To schedule your appointment call us as soon as possible at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.