Woman Injured on Icy Hotel Sidewalk Fails to Provide Evidence of Hotel’s Duty to Train Employees, Must Retry Case

Everyone has seen someone slip on an icy sidewalk, and the injuries can be serious. But whose duty is it to maintain the sidewalk, and what does that duty require? In a recent case, a court held that a case had to be retried when a plaintiff failed to explain what the defendant’s duty was in training its employees and how they failed to meet that duty.

Snowy RoadIn a recent case, a woman slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk at a Marriott hotel while she was staying at the hotel for business. She broke her ankle and sued the hotel for negligently maintaining its sidewalks and failing to properly train the employees who were responsible for deicing the sidewalks. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury found the hotel 98 percent at fault. The hotel appealed the decision, and the state’s supreme court reversed and ordered a new trial. The court held that the trial court should not have allowed a “negligent training theory” without having testimony on the standard of care for training employees on how to deice the sidewalk, or how that had been breached.

The court explained that the jury could not have found that the hotel was negligent in training its employees because the required standard was never explained to the jury. In other words, the plaintiff did not provide any evidence that the hotel had a duty to instruct employees about the time that deicing would remain effective. The court stated that some evidence or testimony to support the position had to be admitted before a jury could return a verdict on that specific claim. The jury could not find that the hotel breached its duty to properly train employees because the standard of care required was never explained. As a result, the court reversed the decision, and the case had to be retried.

Premises Liability in Illinois

Whether a plaintiff can recover compensation in an Illinois premises liability lawsuit usually depends on whether the property owner or occupier owed the plaintiff a duty to keep the premises safe or provide warnings of dangerous conditions. Under Illinois’ Premises Liability Act, property owners and occupiers owe a duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them.” The Illinois Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff must prove six elements to prevail in a premises liability claim: 1) there was a condition that posed an unreasonable risk of harm; 2) the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition; 3) the defendant should have anticipated that people would fail to recognize the danger or protect themselves from it; 4) the defendant was negligent; 5) the plaintiff was injured; and 6) the condition caused the plaintiff’s injury.

Do You Have a Premises Liability Claim?

If you have been injured on another person’s or business’ premises, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. At Moll Law Group, our Chicago lawyers are skilled in many personal injury claims, from premises liability to car accidents and medical malpractice. Our attorneys provide legal representation to individuals in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. To find out more, fill out our online form or call us at 312-462-1700 to set up a free consultation.

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Court Finds Nursing Home Waived Its Right to Arbitration Despite Signed Arbitration Clause, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2016.

Court Dismisses Case After Failure to Pay Filing Fee Within Statute of Limitations, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 25, 2016.