Suffering an injury while on the property of another can be a frustrating experience. Initially, it is important to tend to the injury medically. However, medical treatment necessarily involves cost, and, especially if the injury can be attributable to a dangerous condition, but these costs may be reimbursable from the property owner under the doctrine of premises liability. Retaining the services of an experienced premises liability attorney is essential to ensure that reimbursement is obtained.
One complication that can affect the outcome of an injury case is if the injury occurs on public property, such as in a park, at city hall, or on a sidewalk. In Illinois, certain laws in these circumstances which affect how a lawsuit may be brought against a governmental entity. Recently, a woman who tripped on a sidewalk in Naperville re-filed her lawsuit against the city, claiming that she tripped on the sidewalk in front of the Will County Courthouse in Naperville.
Suing a Governmental Entity
The Illinois Court of Claims Act governs all claims filed against the State of Illinois, and the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act covers claims failed against local Illinois municipalities. These Acts allow a wide range of cases against Illinois governments, including cases for breach of contract, for unjustly-served time in state prisons, for review of administrative decisions, and for claims of personal injury or similar civil wrongs. Additionally, these acts also address the application of sovereign immunity against Illinois governmental entities.
Specifically, these Acts provide that Illinois governmental entities are immune from negligence lawsuits concerning:
- The government’s failure to supervise activity on public property;
- Negligence related to health and safety inspections; and
- Negligence relating to injuries caused by unsafe conditions on government property, but only if the government did not have notice of the conditions.
Additionally, it is important to note that these Acts hold that a claim against a local governmental entity, unlike those against the State, must be based on willful and wanton misconduct. Accordingly, claims for simple negligence or carelessness are not acceptable.
Premises Liability against a Governmental Entity
It is the last bullet point that addresses premises liability against an Illinois governmental entity. An underlying theme to premises liability actions against an Illinois governmental entity is that an injured person can bring a claim, provided the same claim would be available if it were brought against a private individual or entity. Additionally, as alluded to above, the governmental entity must have had notice of the unsafe condition for a lawsuit to be permitted.
Statutes of Limitation
An individual wishing to file a claim against an Illinois governmental entity must take one of two steps. First, the individual may file a notice of the claim with the Attorney General and the Clerk of the Court of Claims within one year of the date of injury. Alternatively, the individual may file a lawsuit with the Court of Claims within one year of the date the accident occurred. In other words, if the claim is filed within one year, notice is not necessary. In any event, all claims against an Illinois governmental entity must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, even if notice is filed first.
For claims of willful and wanton misconduct against a local or municipal governmental entity, the claim must be filed within one year, or within two years if the claim is based on medical negligence.
Contact an Illinois Attorney
If you suffered an injury while on public property, and are curious whether the governmental entity in charge of the property can be held liable, contact an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated DuPage County personal injury attorneys at Mevorah Law Office, LLC have years of experience in premises liability matters and want to help you get the compensation you deserve. If it is determined an injury can be attributable to a governmental agency, we will work to ensure that you get the maximum compensation possible. Contact us at 630-420-1000 for a free consultation.