When the trial judge dismissed the bicycle injury case, the personal injury attorneys at Peter Higgins Law appealed the decision and won the right to have its client's case reinstated for trial.
Peter Higgins Law' client, a 64-year-old woman and avid bicyclist, was riding with her cycling group on the Skokie Valley Bike Path in Highland Park, Illinois when one of the riders ahead of her hit a large bump in the pavement and flew off his bike. Having no way to avoid him, our client rode over the fallen cyclist’s legs and bike, then crashed to the pavement, sustaining severe injuries.
Peter Higgins Law filed a lawsuit against the City of Highland Park because the bump that sent the first rider flying had been the cause of two other serious bike accidents within 30 days prior to our client’s accident, and Highland Park had been made aware of the dangerous condition of the bike trail but failed to do anything to fix it.
After many depositions of bicycle riders who were witnesses to the incident, police, fire department personnel and Highland Park Village workers, Highland Park brought a Motion for Summary Judgment to have the case thrown out. Highland Park claimed that under the Tort Immunity Act, they had absolute immunity (meaning that nobody could maintain a lawsuit against them) because this trail should be interpreted as a “riding trail” since it was in an undeveloped, natural setting, and therefore, they had no legal duty to maintain it in a safe condition. The trial judge hearing the Motion agreed and dismissed the case.
Peter Higgins Law appealed the trial court’s decision to the Second District Appellate Court. We argued that even though the trail was, indeed, a bicycle trail, it should not be interpreted as a “riding trail” under the Tort Immunity Act because it ran through the center of Highland Park and was in a developed, commercial, industrialized area - - not in a “forest or mountainous region.” The Appellate Court agreed with us, reversed the decision of the trial court, and reinstated the case. You can read the full Appellate Court Opinion here.