Many Chicagoans dread winter for its bitter temperatures, slippery sidewalks, the need to bundle up extensively, and the dangerous roads and backed up traffic from inclement weather. However, to others, especially our youngest members of the community, winter can be a lot of fun and a time for recreation. As you may remember from your own childhood days, children look forward to snowfall for fun and play, especially for activities like building snowmen, snowball fights, and sledding.
While winter games and activities can be a lot of fun, people sometimes do not consider the dangers and legal consequences. Our attorneys make an effort to always keep on top of local issues and safety concerns, and to relay that knowledge back to our community. That is why the media recently turned to one of our attorneys to discuss the dangers and legal repercussions associated with sledding accidents.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mike Bonamarte, discussed sledding accidents. In recent months many local governments, including those in Illinois, have banned sledding in public parks and properties due to the dangers and risk for injuries, such as when a child’s sled collides with a tree, street sign, hidden obstacle or vehicle on municipal property. However, the report notes that the City of Chicago is unlikely to join in on this ban and representatives continually echo the warning that sledding is at one’s own risk. Additionally, state immunity laws protect local governments from liability on most public property.
In the article, Bonamarte describes how sledding injury lawsuits would be difficult to prosecute in Illinois. He explained that in order for someone to bring legal action in Illinois, it would be necessary to find out where the injury happened, who owned or maintained the location, and whether any immunity statutes apply. However, the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act says that the city government isn’t liable for injury on any public property intended for recreational use. This includes parks, playgrounds, “open areas,” etc. This includes that the city is not responsible for injury caused by weather conditions on such public property, including snow-based recreational activities. The city has designated sledding hills and stresses that sledding is at one’s own risk.
Our attorneys are proud and happy to provide legal guidance and knowledge to our Chicago community and surrounding suburbs. If your or someone you love is ever in an accident and suffers injury, it is important you speak to a legal professional regarding your rights. Know that we are attorneys you can trust, and that our lawyers have extensive experience in personal injury since our law firm’s opening in 1992. Call us for a free consultation, and we would be happy to discuss your legal situation with you.