Back in July of 2007, the City of Chicago was in the process of resurfacing the intersection of Cortland and Mercy. During the process, the construction altered a bicycle path which was not readily visible to unsuspecting cyclists.
An avid cyclist was riding his bicycle when, as a result of the alterations, the cyclist had to navigate his way between manhole covers sticking out from the pavement where city workers had made thick gashes into the road during the construction. The cyclist’s front tire got caught in one of the gashes and he flipped forward suffering serious shoulder and arm injuries. The cyclist’s injuries required two surgeries. The medical bills and wage loss was extensive, not to mention the cyclist’s pain, suffering and disability.
Not surprisingly, the City of Chicago denies liability and the case proceeded to trial. In fact, at one time the City brought a “Motion for Summary Judgment”, i.e., they asked a judge to throw the case out of Court. The City lost that motion, refuses to settle and took the case to trial. The jury found in favor of the cyclist and against the City of Chicago and awarded him more than $1.9 million. Quite obviously, the jury’s decision was not acceptable to the City. The City, who wanted the trial in the first place, appealed.
The Illinois Appellate Court upheld the verdict much to the City of Chicago’s dismay. The City argued that the case was a “premises liability” case and not a “general negligence” case and the trial judge should have instructed the jury like the City wanted her to. In plain English, the City wanted the injured victim to jump through more hoops than the very well-respected trial judge thought was necessary. The judge ruled that the injured cyclist needed to show the owner’s duty to exercise ordinary care for safe use by those lawfully on the property and the appellate court agreed.
This case will Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer who will now have to show that a property owner has a duty to exercise ordinary care for safe use instead of proving the property owner knew or should have known of the risks based upon the property’s condition.