Slip and Fall on Injury on Asphalt That Was Not Level With the Terrain

In Simpson v. State (1985), 37 Ill. Ct. Cl. 76, this Court denied a claim from a walkway trip and fall case originating at New Salem State Park. In that case, Claimant was walking on an asphalt pathway that was not level with adjacent terrain, but had a drop-off of one to one and one-half inches along its border. Claimant stepped off the asphalt without looking and slipped and fell, breaking bones in her right foot. (37 Ill. Ct. Cl. 76, 77.) The Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Roe, noted that the State knew of the condition of the pathway, but that the issue was whether the condition was unreasonably dangerous so as to give rise to an obligation on the part of the State to warn of the condition or otherwise protect the public using the pathway. The Court recited that the drop-off was less than two inches, and that the general rule in such an instance has been clearly stated to be that while "minor" defects in a walkway are not actionable, it is within the purview of the trier of fact to determine negligence when the defect is such that a reasonably prudent man should anticipate some danger to persons walking upon the walkway, and that the problem was in defining what is a "minor" defect. In that case, the Court concluded from the photographs that any defect that existed was not so unreasonably dangerous as to create liability against the State. The condition shown was not found to be unacceptable or unreasonable; it should, however, be noted that this Court opined that there was no breaking in the pavement itself, but rather the ground along side the walkway was lower in some places than the walkway surface. 37 Ill. Ct. Cl. 76, 79.