Woman sues Illinois hospital over red-winged blackbird attack

A woman has sued Elmhurst (Ill.) Hospital, alleging the hospital is liable for injuries she sustained two years ago when red-winged blackbirds attacked her outside of the hospital, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Judy Graves claims she fell and sustained serious undisclosed injuries when the birds attacked her in June 2015. The lawsuit alleges Elmhurst Hospital knew the birds were nesting in its landscaping but failed to post warning signs or keep people off of the walking path.

Property owners generally are not liable for injuries caused by wild animals on their property. However, liability can be imposed if the property owner does something to increase the likelihood a wild animal will harm someone and fails to warn the public of the increased risk, according to the report.

The lawsuit alleges Elmhurst Hospital is liable for Ms. Graves' injuries because its landscaping was designed in a way that "encouraged nesting and other habitation by wildlife, specifically including birds," according to the report.

Elmhurst Hospital spokeswoman Keith Hartenberger told The Chicago Tribune the hospital immediately posted warning signs and blocked the walking path when it learned there were red-winged blackbirds in its landscaping. Mr. Hartenberger said the hospital did not know the birds were nesting in the landscaping until the day Ms. Graves claims she was attacked. 

Ms. Graves is seeking $50,000 plus legal costs.

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