Trips and falls occur all the time. In fact, they are one of the most common incidents that lead to personal injuries. According to a statistic from the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration division (OSHA), there were approximately 230,000 slip and fall injuries cases in 2019. Uneven sidewalks, especially in large metropolitan cities like Chicago, lead to multiple trip and fall accidents. In Illinois, the De Minimis Rule can help victims receive compensation for any injuries sustained or medical payments made due to a fall from uneven sidewalks.
What is the De Minimis Rule?
When dealing with a personal injury lawsuit, there are three main criteria that the court will use to determine if a victim can be awarded compensation. The first consideration includes when the accident occurred, ensuring that the injury timeline is within the Illinois statute of limitations. Victims typically have two years after the accident occurred to sue for compensation. Then, the court will analyze the injuries and how severe they are. The most important factor, however, is determining fault through liability. Many nuances exist in liability cases, especially regarding injuries such as falls on public property. Liability refers to finding who is responsible for an accident. For example, a drunk driver who drives illegally under the influence of alcohol is liable for any injuries or damages caused if they crash. Similarly, a store owner can be held liable for a customer slipping on a spill that was left unattended.
Illinois initially implemented the De Minimis Rule to help protect defendants in personal injury cases who could be held liable for injured pedestrians tripping on an uneven sidewalk. The rule states that defendants, including city officials, homeowners, or businesses, would not be held responsible for injuries on uneven sidewalks if the uneven pavement depression was smaller than two inches. It became too difficult for liable parties to maintain every imperfection on sidewalks. So, parties are responsible for sidewalk depressions larger than two inches.
How do I Sue for a Fall on an Uneven Sidewalk?
If you or someone you know sustained an injury from tripping on an uneven sidewalk, you could be awarded compensation if the uneven pavement was two inches or higher. Like all personal injury cases, a plaintiff must be able to provide the court evidence that the injury occurred at the hands of another negligent party. There must be a party liable. Due to the De Minimis Rule, a liable party only exists for uneven sidewalks if the pavement imperfection is higher than two inches.
If the sidewalk pavement passes the De Minimis Rule’s two-inch margin, victims can pursue a personal injury case by reaching out to a skilled attorney. A lawyer will help gather all necessary documents to file a claim in court and prove negligence.
Contact a Wheaton Personal Injury Attorney
At the Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C., our experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney has successfully fought for clients’ rights to compensation following an injury. From slips and falls to car accidents, back injuries, and wrongful death cases, attorney David Clark has accumulated years of experience. To schedule a free consultation with our office and discuss your injury case elements, please call us at 630-665-5678 today.