Illinois’s Public Duty Rule Abolished by Supreme Court

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Illinois’s Public Duty Rule Abolished by Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court (the highest court in the State) voted to abolish the common-law “public duty rule.” Illinois’s long-standing public duty rule provided local governmental entities and their employees with immunity from lawsuits by holding that they owed no duty of care to provide governmental services. This meant that local governmental entities could not be sued for failing to provide police and/or fire protection to individuals or groups, such as failing to arrive within a certain time.

A divided Supreme Court held that the common-law rule was no longer necessary in light of Illinois’s Governmental Tort Immunity Act. The public duty rule had previously been implemented by Illinois Courts for over 100 years. Under the Tort Immunity Act, an injured person must show that the governmental entity engaged in willful and wanton conduct, or engaged in reckless disregard for the safety of the injured person in order to recover for their injuries. However, the public duty rule acted to eliminate recovery even where a governmental entity or its employees had committed willful and wanton conduct by holding that no duty of care was owed. In order to recover for willful and wanton conduct, or even simple negligence, in Illinois, there must be a duty of care owed to the injured person.

Injured persons seeking recovery from governmental entities, municipalities, and/or their employees will now have to look to proving their cases based upon the intentional or reckless conduct of those parties. If you have been injured due to the alleged negligence of a local Illinois municipality, governmental agency or department you should not delay in contacting the experienced lawyers at Strong Law Offices. We will discuss your potential claims with you at a no-risk, free consultation. Don’t delay, as the one-year (1-year) statute of limitations period on your claim is already ticking by.