In an excellent example of how lawsuits can positively affect social change, the northwest Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights is changing the way it plows its parking lots and other public areas after it settled a slip and fall lawsuit filed by a woman injured when she slipped on public property in 2010, reports the Chicago Tribune. In the past, the city workers were instructed to place an equal amount of snow into each of the four corners that they are clearing, making more parking spaces available to use. The new rules force the workers to plow snow into only three corners and avoid plowing in areas where there are stairs.
The injured Arlington Heights resident sued the city in 2010 when she slipped in a parking garage due to an unnatural accumulation of ice near the stairwell of the lot. The city approved a $49,500 settlement for the couple in December, 2012. The woman fractured her leg when she fell and called out to her husband. When he came to her aid, he also slipped and fell. Several other people slipped and fell in the same spot, according to the couple. While the city denied all liability and insisted that the accumulation of ice was natural and not the result of negligence on their part, they have now decided to change the way that they plow public spaces to prevent future accidents like this.
This lawsuit provides a great example of just how important litigation can be in positively affecting social change. Plaintiff based litigation is important to ensure that negligent and dangerous behavior by companies, cities, municipalities and other powerful organizations does not continue to negatively impact individuals. Everyone has a right to take a stand against negligent, reckless or dangerous behavior. In this case, the city of Arlington Heights was acting negligently in the way that they removed their snow. The lawsuit filed by these brave citizens helped to change the way that the city plowed their snow, and will hopefully prevent other citizens from experiencing painful personal injuries in the future. Perhaps other cities in the Chicago area will see this lawsuit and reevaluate their snow removal techniques.
While it is natural to feel powerless and scared to take on large companies or other organizations, it is important to remember that nothing can change until someone takes a stand. Plaintiffs’ attorneys help to give the injured a voice and will fight for your rights in a court of law. In fact, our firm has successfully fought for hundreds of our wrongfully injured clients and has obtained countless verdicts and settlements in their favor. Lawsuits are one of the few ways that individuals can impact social change because they send a message that negligence will not be tolerated.