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Illinois Woman Fails to Show Store Was Negligent After She Falls on Rocks in Parking Lot

In a recent case, a woman sued a store alleging negligence after she fell in a parking lot. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was shopping with her husband in Hodgkins, Illinois when she fell after stepping on some small rocks in a parking lot. The plaintiff suffered a serious injury as a result of her fall and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store.

Apparently, the area where she fell was outside the entrance to the defendant’s home improvement store. Near the entrance, there was a planter with a small tree inside, which was filled with decorative river rocks similar to those on which the plaintiff had stepped. The store also sold these rocks. Witnesses testified that the planter needed to be refilled from time to time, and one of the store’s managers had seen children playing in the planter on occasion. The store’s general manager testified that he walked through the store and the parking lot every day to check for safety hazards. In addition, he testified that other employees walked through the parking lot during the day and were required to report any hazards.

In response to the claim against it, the store moved for summary judgment, and a federal court granted the motion. A federal appeals court agreed and determined there was not sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on whether the store’s negligence caused the woman’s fall. The court explained there was no direct or circumstantial evidence indicating the store was responsible for the rocks being in the parking lot, rather than the rocks’ presence being caused by another customer. Although the woman argued an employee’s action could have caused the rocks to be there, it was only speculation. In addition, there was no evidence that the store knew or should have known of the danger of fallen rocks. Furthermore, there was no evidence of any other incidents involving rocks in the parking lot or of fallen rocks or past complaints. As a result, the case was dismissed.

Illinois Premises Liability Claims

Under Illinois premises liability laws, landowners generally have a duty to maintain their premises in order to keep them reasonably safe. The Illinois Premises Liability Act provides various duties owed by owners and occupiers to different classes of people who come onto their property. In general, land 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.”

In a premises liability claim, a plaintiff generally must prove six elements to make out a claim. First, a particular condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm. Second, a property owner or occupier knew or should have known about the condition. Third, the property owner or occupier should have foreseen that others would fail to recognize the danger or protect themselves from it. Fourth, the property owner or occupier’s actions were negligent. Fifth, the plaintiff suffered injuries. Sixth, the condition was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Contact a Premises Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured, and you believe another party may be at fault, contact a premises liability attorney as soon as possible. The Chicago injury attorneys at Moll Law Group are skilled in many personal injury claims, from premises liability to car accidents and medical malpractice. We provide legal representation to individuals in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we have been involved. To set up a free consultation, call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us through our online form.

See More Posts:

Plaintiff’s Expert’s Conclusions Protected by Work Product Doctrine, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 23, 2016.

Court Discusses “Foreseeability” Requirement in Chain-Reaction Truck Accident Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 2, 2016.

Court Reinstates Case After Attorney Admits Fault in Failing to Pay Court Fees, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2016.

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