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For many years the slip or trip & fall lawsuit was one of the easiest personal injury lawsuits to win. Municipalities such as the City of Chicago had no choice but to settle these cases since the city had no way to repair every defective sidewalk and street in spite of the fact that it had actual or constructive knowledge of the same.
Unfortunately for the victims of these types of cases, changes is the common law of the State of Illinois has signaled the end of these lawsuits. Having adopted the "open and obvious" rule, the courts routinely dismiss lawsuits when the surface defect is easily visible to the injured plaintiff. See: Ballog v. City of Chicago 2012 IL App (1st) 112429, 980 N.E.2d 690 Ill.App. 1 Dist.,2012. When the defect is small so that it is not open and obvious, the courts then apply the demmitius rule. See:
Morris v. Ingersoll 2013 WL 5173868, 2013. The rule basically states when the defect is small there is no duty upon the defendant to warn the plaintiff or repair the defect.
An exception to the "open and obvious" rule is when the plaintiff was distracted and was therefore excused from taking notice of the defect. Unfortunately courts have now narrowed the rule to distractions actually caused by the defendant that owned the defective property.
The unfortunate bottom line is be careful where you walk because if you fall and injure yourself you will only have yourself to blame.
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