Illinois Court on Homeowner’s Liability For Worker’s Fall


In July, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, considered whether a homeowner was liable for the injuries sustained by a guest who fell as he walked down a flight of stairs. In Van Gelderen v. Hokin, No. 1-09-3283, the plaintiff claimed that the location of the door through which he exited in relation to the stairs upon which he fell presented an unreasonably dangerous condition.

On the date of the accident, the plaintiff had been installing window coverings at the defendant’s home and at the end of the day, he attempted to leave the house. He reached to open the side door, which swung inward, to the left, and as he did so, he stepped to the right to avoid the door. As he moved to the right, he stepped into the basement stairwell and fell down the basement steps. In his lawsuit he claimed that if the door had opened to the right, thus swinging toward the stairwell, the dangerous condition presented by the location of the basement steps in relation to the doorway could have been avoided.

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