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Is a Business Liable If You Slip on the Ice Outside Its Store?

Posted on in Premises Liability

Is a Business Liable If You Slip on the Ice Outside Its Store?Though we hope that the worst of the winter weather is behind us, there is a fair chance that we will see more snow this season. Many people are injured each winter because they slipped and fell on an icy or wet walking surface. While you can do your best to clear the walkways outside your home, you have no control over the conditions of a public place, such as outside a retail store. Your initial reaction after falling in public may be to blame yourself, but it is possible that the property owner is liable for the conditions that caused your fall. To receive personal injury compensation from a retail store, you will need to prove that an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow caused your accident.

Outside the Store

Property owners in Illinois have no legal obligation to remove snow or ice that has naturally accumulated. This means they will likely not be liable if you fall because they did not shovel or put down salt to melt the ice. Property owners are also not liable for tire tracks or footprints that create a slipping or tripping hazard. They are liable if they cause unnatural accumulations of snow or ice outside of their property. Examples of unnatural accumulation include:

  • Removing snow or ice in a way that creates a hazard that would not have existed otherwise
  • A defect in the building or sidewalk that causes snow or ice to accumulate in certain spots, which the property owner knew about and had time to fix

Property owners also have a general obligation to provide a safe means of entering and exiting the store, which includes adequate lighting.

Inside the Store

The floor that is immediately inside the entryway of a store can be slippery from people tracking in snow and water. Illinois courts have consistently found that store owners are not liable for falls caused by tracked-in moisture because it is a natural occurrence during inclement weather. Employees do not have an obligation to clean floors that are wet from snow, replace mats that have become saturated, or warn customers about the wet floor.

Contact a Barrington, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney

Most businesses will attempt to clear snow and ice as a courtesy to customers. A court may find them negligent if the place where they piled the snow creates a condition that leads to your slip and fall. If you were hurt because you fell outside of a store, talk to a Barrington, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, to see whether the property owner could be liable for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 847-381-8700.


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