Unnaturally Stubborn: Illinois’ Reluctance in Krywin v. Chicago Transit Authority to Do Away with the Natural Accumulation Rule, and the Resulting Impact upon the Duty of Common Carriers
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The Natural Accumulation Rule is a legal doctrine that has been interpreted and applied by the Illinois courts to mean that a landowner may escape liability for injuries to a third party on his or her land that occur as a result of a natural accumulation of rain, ice or snow. Another legal doctrine that is recognized in Illinois is the duty of common carriers (such as buses, airplanes, and commuter trains) to provide a safe place for their passengers to disembark or “alight” from the vehicle they are riding. These two legal doctrines came into conflict with one another in the 2010 Illinois Supreme Court case of Krywin v. Chicago Transit Authority, which involved a woman who slipped and fell on a patch of ice while disembarking from a Chicago El train. This Note examines the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Krywin to continue to uphold the Natural Accumulation Rule, despite the fact that Illinois is one of the few states remaining that continues to recognize this somewhat antiquated concept. This Note makes the conclusion that the Court’s decision in Krywin was incorrect because it was inconsistent with the intention of the Illinois legislature, and was inconsistent with prior precedent set both in Illinois and other similarly.