Slip and Fall Accident Attorney in Niles
If you were injured in a slip and fall on ice in the village of Niles or anywhere in Illinois, call us today at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation. It happens all the time, we slip and fall on ice during Illinois winters. It’s a fact of life. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, it can happen to you. This begs the question, if you slip and fall on ice or snow and suffer n injury, who is responsible?
Generally speaking, in the State of Illinois, a property “owner” does not have an obligation to clean the sidewalk in front of his or her property of snow or ice.
However, cities and states often make laws based on a “public policy” basis. Meaning, they want to encourage or discourage people from doing certain things. In Illinois, the state government created a law called the Snow and Ice Removal Act. In it, the State determined that it was the “public policy” of the State of Illinois to encourage residents to clean the sidewalks in front of their homes of snow and ice.
As such, anyone who makes a good faith effort to clean their sidewalk is not responsible for slip and fall injuries that occur on their sidewalks.
When is a property owner liable for a snow or ice related slip and fall accident?
The owner will be liable when there is an “unnatural accumulation” of snow or ice that causes an accident. An unnatural accumulation could be caused, for example, by a down spout that was improperly placed and resulted in a puddle of water to freeze, thereby causing an accident. Or, a drain might have been placed in a high traffic walkway and regularly freezes thereby causing an injury.
What if a property owner shovels snow which then results in an unnatural accumulation of ice that causes an injury? Pursuant to a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision, if a property owner shovels the snow or ice, and his or her efforts results in an “unnatural accumulation” of snow or ice that causes an injury, the property owner is still immune from liability.
Property owners may still have liability for other reasons. For example, if the property was poorly maintained and resulted in an unnatural accumulation. Or, if the property was improperly designed, for example, an unsafe slope was created in the concrete when it was poured which resulted in an unnatural accumulation.
You would think that if someone owns a store and customers track water into the store, that the store owner would be liable if someone walked into the store, falls down and suffers an injury. This would appear to constitute an unnatural accumulation. However, generally speaking, the store owner will not be liable in this situation.
One exception might be where the floor was unusually wet due to some action by the store owner. For example, if the floor was polished with an unusually slippery substance and that substance contributed to the accident. Then the store owner might be liable. But that is the exception and not the rule.
City Specific Ordinances
Cities like Niles, Illinois, have their own city ordinance about snow removal. However, the Niles ordinance relates primarily to what streets will be plowed first rather than who is responsible for shoveling sidewalks.
The city of Chicago has its own ordinance about snow removal. Chicago requires its citizens to remove snow in front of their homes or businesses. The penalty for failure to shovel snow is a fine that ranges from $50.00 to $500.00 per day. However, that does not alter the civil liability for injuries that occur on the property.
If you were injured in a slip and fall on snow or ice in Niles, Illinois, call our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation. It takes an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer to research the law to determine if you have a viable claim. In addition, if your claim is against a governmental entity, the time limit in which you have to file a claim may be shorter so call today.
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