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General Civil

Snow And Ice Removal

The general rule in Illinois is that a property owner cannot be held responsible for injuries that occur as the result of the failure to remove natural accumulations of snow and ice. Cities, villages, and park districts have also enjoyed immunity from liability for failing to remove these natural accumulations. After a snowfall or an ice storm, a property owner is not considered to be negligent if a person slips and falls because the property owner failed to shovel or salt the walkway or sidewalk. This rule recognizes that property owners cannot guarantee perfect conditions on their property, particularly in a winter climate.

On the other hand, owners can be held liable for injuries that are caused byunnatural accumulations of snow and ice on their property. Unnatural accumulations include snow piles created by snow removal and ice formed by artificial conditions, such as a fountain. For example, the Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that it was proper to hold a county responsible for an automobile accident. The accident occurred when a motorist's view was obstructed by a snow pile that was created when the county cleared the intersection of snow. In this case, the plaintiff had to show that the snow pile, which was higher than the plaintiff's car, was an unnatural accumulation of snow placed at the intersection and that the county knew of this dangerous condition. Since the evidence demonstrated that county workers created the dangerous condition when they plowed, it was not difficult to establish that they knew of the snow pile, its size and height, and its dangerous location at the corner of an intersection.

Illinois law recognizes the common-sense approach to snow and ice removal. If you remove snow and ice from your property, do it in such a way that you do not create another condition that could result in injuries to others.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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