No. In Illinois, stores and businesses generally do not have to remove snow and ice that naturally accumulates on their premises.
Therefore, you might not be able to sue a business for your injuries if you slip and fall on its property. However, there are certain situations where the business can be liable to you for slips due to snow or ice on its premises and it is very important to understand when that is the case.
What Is The Law With Snow And Ice Removal For Illinois Businesses?
Illinois codified the responsibilities of businesses and rights of citizens regarding the removal of snow and ice on commercial premises in the Snow and Ice Removal Act (745 ILCS 75). This law states that it is the policy of Illinois for citizens to remove snow and ice from their properties.
“It is declared to be the public policy of this State that owners and others residing in residential units be encouraged to clean the sidewalks abutting their residences of snow and ice. The General Assembly, therefore, determines that it is undesirable for any person to be found liable for damages due to his or her efforts in the removal of snow or ice from such sidewalks, except for acts which amount to clear wrongdoing, as described in Section 2 of this Act.” 745 ILCS 75/1
Consequently, it minimizes liability for residential owners when they do so and others are still harmed from the presence of snow or ice. Illinois also abides by the Natural Accumulation Rule. Putting both of these together, Illinois businesses don’t have a duty remove natural accumulations of snow or ice-or those deposits that others have trampled on. However, they still have a duty to provide invitees and licensees with reasonable care. Therefore, they might be obligated to post a notice or warning of unsafe conditions because of the weather, snow, and ice. Furthermore, if they do attempt to remove the snow or ice and someone gets hurt because of that unnatural accumulation, then they can be legally responsible for the injuries that result. Thus, stores do not have to remove snow or ice from their property, but if they do so, then they do so at their legal peril.
How Do You Know If Businesses Are Responsible For Slip And Fall Accidents?
A lot of people that have suffered from slip and fall accidents in Illinois want to know how they can tell when the commercial property owner will be responsible for their injuries especially when snow and ice are involved. Here are some signs to look for that might indicate you can sue the store where you fell:
- The snow or ice you fell in had been piled up or moved to one side by the business.
- You fell in snow or ice that the store had not moved but other snow or ice on the store’s property had been removed.
- Other people had fallen and reported their injuries to the same store where you fell.
- When you slipped on snow or ice, you noticed shovels, snow blowers, and other instruments in the surrounding area.
- The place where you fell was under construction or in the process of renovation.
These are normally some simple checks to determine if your snow or ice fall was the fault of the store. However, there are others. If you speak to a qualified personal injury attorney, he or she can help you break down the accident scene to figure out who was responsible.
What Should I Do If Slip On Snow Or Ice At A Store?
If you slip on snow or ice at a store, you need to act quickly to preserve your right in court. Businesses are liable for slip accidents in Illinois under certain circumstances but only if you do a couple of things with urgency. First, as soon as possible, write down a complete recounting of your memories of the event including all of the people present, any employees in the area, the weather conditions, and the snow or ice accumulation on the ground. Second, call an attorney and tell him or her the nature of the incident. Third, try to identify the owners of the property where you fell. Fourth, avoid speaking with these owners or any of their representatives, agents, or employees.
Did You Slip And Get Hurt On An Illinois Business Property?
Slip and fall cases are normally fact-intensive matters. They involve an inordinate amount of investigation and evidence gathering. When the premises is a business property, and the culprit was either snow or ice, that task can be excruciatingly complicated. The reason for this is that you must show what the company did or did not do with respect to the inclement conditions, how the incident occurred, and how the defendant’s actions compare to a reasonable actor’s in similar circumstances. It is enough to confuse an attorney let alone a jury. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has combed through many of these disputes to analyze trends that run through successful jury awards and settlements. We have also met with and represented them as well. Call us today to hear how we can help you if you slipped and fell outside a store or business in Illinois. Our offices are open 24/7 and can be reached by calling (888) 424-5757 or using the contact form below. See Lansing v. County of McLean, 69 Ill.
2d 562 (1978); Nowak v. Coghill, 296 Ill. App. 3d 886 (1998); Kellerman v. Car City Chevrolet-Nissan, Inc., 306 Ill. App. 3d 285 (1999).
For additional information on slip and fall injuries, see the following pages: