With winter in Illinois comes snow, many times in great amounts that accumulate on the roads, pavements, and pathways. Depending on the amount of snow, and the measures taken to remove it, the buildup of snow can cause various dangers to people walking on sidewalks. Slipping and falling on snow or ice can cause minor to serious injuries, and leave the injured person with medical or other personal bills that he or she may not be able to pay. In Illinois, holding a property owner responsible for injuries sustained in a fall due to snow on the property may be difficult, although not impossible.Law Regarding Snow Removal
Illinois property owners are generally not required to remove snow that naturally accumulates on their property. Therefore, property owners are not liable for injuries caused due to the natural accumulation of snow or ice on their property. However, a property owner can go on to create a situation whereby he or she is liable for the injuries. If a property owner hires someone who negligently removes snow or ice from his or her premises, and therefore creates unnatural accumulations of snow, the property owner becomes liable for injuries caused by this snow. This difference between natural accumulations and unnatural accumulations should encourage property owners to make sure they are careful in who they hire to remove the snow from their property.
There are other situations in which an injured person may otherwise recover from a property owner. In a situation where the walkway on the property is designed in a faulty way so as to cause snow and ice to collect in a dangerous way, a court can find that the design caused the snow or ice to collect in an unnatural condition.
Note that even though some city ordinances may require a property owner to remove snow when it reaches a certain amount, this does not mean that the property owner who fails to follow the ordinance is automatically liable in a civil case for personal injuries caused by the snow or ice.
To some extent, the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act also protects property owners from personal injury lawsuits. The law states that unless a property owner is willfully negligent in removing snow from a sidewalk next to his property, he or she is not liable when a person gets hurt on the sidewalk due to the snow and ice. A court may decide a part of the property is a sidewalk even though it is not a traditional sidewalk.
Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
If you are injured due to snow or ice on a sidewalk or other walkway in the coming winter months, you should contact the experienced Kane County personal injury attorneys at Law Office of James F. White, P.C. for a consultation on your case. We may be able to help you recover damages for your injuries in Chicago and the western suburbs.