Every day we go about our daily business, and we often forget about how much we are at the mercy of businesses and other entities to perform basic maintenance on their property. This can mean complex repairs (elevator maintenance) to simple maintenance such as making sure sidewalks and driveways clear of snow and ice. For some, an outing as simple as going to the grocery store can result in serious injuries.
For one woman this became a sad reality. Sharon Jordan went to the grocery store Food 4 Less expecting a normal day of shopping. Her mundane errands soon turned into a painful accident when she fell in the parking lot of Food 4 Less. Jordan broke her ankle in the fall. After her accident, she filed suit. In the discovery process, her counsel found out about a company called Pete’s Lawn Care, and they were added to the suit.
What followed was a grueling litigation process. She brought her case to a Cook County trial court. She accuses the defendants of not monitoring the weather conditions (negligence) and that had they done so, it would have prevented the accumulation of snow and ice. The judge disagreed with Jordan’s arguments and granted summary judgement for the defendants, The Kroger Co. d/b/a Foods 4 Less. Jordan’s case went up to the Illinois First District Appellate Court. The appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling, and plaintiff’s case went by the wayside.
The Rule of Law
In Illinois, the rule of law regarding slip and fall cases dictates that the burden is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that the accumulation of snow and ice on the surface in question was unnatural.
There is no set definition of what constitutes an “unnatural accumulation” of snow and ice. However, the Illinois judiciary is clear that it is the burden of the plaintiff to present evidence of such. The case law where plaintiffs succeed in their claims usually involves the defendant’s negligently maintaining the premises. Once the plaintiff does establish credible evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused the unnatural accumulation of snow and ice on a walkway, it is the defendant’s obligation to refute the evidence.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney in Chicago Today
If you or a loved one has been injured by slipping and falling, please contact our firm as soon as possible. Contacting us can make all the difference when you are facing lost wages and a decrease in quality of life. Do not suffer alone. There are legal professionals here who can help you get back on your feet and get the monetary damages you deserve. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Sydney Rae)