Woman’s Case Dismissed Because She Failed to Show that Crack in Sidewalk Was Present 30 Days Prior to Her Accident

In a recent case, a woman was injured after she tripped on a large crack between two sidewalk slabs. The woman sued the city, arguing that the city was liable for failing to maintain the sidewalk in reasonable repair. She claimed that the sidewalk’s hazardous condition had been present for over 30 days before she fell. Indeed, under state law, this was a necessary element that needed to be proved in order for her case to be successful.

Cracked PavementUnder the state’s law, for a sidewalk defect case, a plaintiff was required to prove that the city knew or should have known about the existence of the defect at least 30 days before the injury. If there was an obvious defect at least 30 days before the injury, the city was presumed to have knowledge of the defect. The city took the woman’s deposition, and during her deposition she stated that she did not know how for how long the condition had been there. The woman submitted three photographs taken about 30 days after the accident, which were the only relevant evidence she had of the condition. The city moved to have the case dismissed. That state’s supreme court found that the evidence of the photograph could not show that the defect existed at least 30 days before the woman’s accident. Thus, the case had to be dismissed.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is a decision made by a court based on the available evidence. The judgment considers whether there is sufficient contradictory evidence that amounts to a dispute of an issue of material fact. If there is a sufficient dispute, the case should be sent to trial so that a judge or jury can resolve the factual dispute based on the evidence presented at trial. The purpose of summary judgment is not to make a decision on a factual dispute but instead to decide whether a factual dispute exists.

The evidence that can be considered for summary judgment includes the pleadings, the depositions, party admissions, and affidavits. Thus, summary judgment is appropriate if the available evidence demonstrates that there is “no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

In considering a summary judgment motion in Illinois, judges must consider the evidence against the party requesting summary judgment and in favor of the other party. Thus, the other party is only required to provide some evidence to support the elements of its claim. For this reason, judges cannot consider whether one party’s evidence is more credible or reliable than the other party’s evidence. In addition, a judge may grant summary judgment but then offer the plaintiff an opportunity to amend his pleadings. The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure states that after summary judgment is entered, a court can allow a party to amend its pleading if it is just and reasonable. In cases in which summary judgement is final, a party can also appeal the judgment.

Do You Have a Premises Liability Claim?

If you have a premises liability claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Chicago lawyers at Moll Law Group are skilled in all types of personal injury claims, from premises liability to car accidents and medical malpractice. Our attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensatory damages if you have been hurt due to a property owner’s negligence. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we have been involved. Use our online form or call us at 312-462-1700 to set up a free initial consultation.

See More Posts:

Woman Injured on Icy Hotel Sidewalk Fails to Provide Evidence of Hotel’s Duty to Train Employees, Must Retry Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, July 9, 2016.

Woman Fails to Provide Required Notice in Medical Malpractice Claim, Resulting in Dismissal, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, July 23, 2016.

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