Injured at Brookfield Zoo? You May Have Time to Claim

Slip and Fall claim

The Illinois Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in a 2012 personal injury lawsuit brought against the operator of the Brookfield Zoo, the Chicago Zoological Society. The plaintiff filed her lawsuit based on injuries she sustained at the zoo in 2010 after she tripped and fell on the pavement. Her complaint was originally dismissed as being outside the statute of limitations in personal injury cases against local public entities. In Illinois, there is a one-year statute of limitations in these types of cases under the Illinois Tort Immunity Statute.

The Supreme Court disagreed and held that the Brookfield Zoo does not qualify as a local public entity under Illinois law. (This is in contrast to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which has been held to be a public entity because it is owned and operated entirely by the Chicago Park District.) The Supreme Court looked at several factors in making its decision:

  • The fact that the Brookfield Zoo is operated by an autonomous entity (the Chicago Zoological Society)
  • That the Brookfield Zoo receives less than half of its yearly revenue from public funds
  • That the majority of its funding comes from admission fees, donations, and memberships.
  • Brookfield Zoo employees are not recipients of pension benefits issued by the state government.
  • The zoo is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which does not regulate government employers.

What is the Illinois Tort Immunity Statute?

745 ILCS 10/101, et seq. is the law that addresses governmental immunity in personal injury cases in certain situations. The act provides a one-year statute of limitations (found at 745 ILCS 10/8-101) in cases filed against local public entities and public employees of these local public entities. Several entities qualify as “local public entities,” including towns, counties, municipal corporations, trustees and treasurers of school boards and townships, school districts, park and forest preserve districts, museum districts, sanitary districts, and library systems, among others. It does not include the State of Illinois or any office or agency of the State (including universities). Public employees under this statute include employees of any local public entity. “Employees” may be past or present employees, but this term does not include independent contractors.

What Does this Mean for You?

You may now have more time to assert your personal injury claim involving a public entity. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury on public property, the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer is crucial in navigating the complex personal injury laws in each state. Consult with the attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today and get more information on your rights and the compensation to which you may be entitled. It can be difficult to know where to begin and how to proceed in these situations. Statutes of limitations are very important and may differ in each case, so it is imperative to seek counsel today if you have suffered from an injury. Call (212) 397-1000 to schedule your free consultation today.