Do Stores Have a Legal Duty to Remove Snow and Ice?
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 held 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.
This puts both of these together, Illinois businesses don't have a duty to 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 responsible for resulting injuries.
Thus, property owners do not have to remove snow or ice from their property, but if they do so, then they do so at their legal peril. This includes commercial property owners and dangerous conditions in parking lots and in stores themselves.
Contact our law firm, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, to identify what the business owner's responsibility is with regards to snow removal and other dangerous conditions. They can lead to dangerous accidents in parking lots and sidewalks and large medical bills for any reasonable person.
When Are Property Owners Responsible for Slip and Fall Accidents?
Many have suffered from slip and fall accidents in Illinois and want to know how they can tell when the commercial property owner will be responsible for their injuries involving snow.
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 if they didn't remove snow quickly.
Premises liability of property owners can be hard to determine when snow removal, snow and ice accumulation, or other materials are at stake. But these accidents do happen a lot in parking lots, walkways, in the stores themselves, and more.
Our team can help anyone acting like a reasonable person during the event identify the business owner's responsibility and when they can be held liable.
This can help them recoup financial compensation for medical bills and lost wages because stores didn't remove ice after the snow ceases or if they did a bad job removing snow.
What Other Property Owner or Party Else Could Be Liable for the Snow Removal Accident?
To get a better grip on slip and fall litigation in Illinois, it is handy to have a list of people that you can sue for injuries that you sustain if you fall.
Here are the main targets that you can sue for Illinois slip and fall cases:
- Store owners in public areas.
- Business owners in private areas.
- Private residential homeowners
- Other kinds of property where you are invited onto the premises.
As you can see, there are a whole host of property owners that are liable to you in the event of a fall.
The question of who you can sue depends less on the type of property and more on your reason for being there (I.E. snow removal, snow and ice pick up, incidents at parking lots, etc.)
You’ll have more luck if you were specifically invited onto the plot of land or at least had a business reason for being there (in which case the law would deem you a licensee and you would get the full protections of invitees in Illinois). This would be true if the snow stops falling.
In any event, this section should give you a better sense of who else could be at fault in your snow removal claim under premises liability law in Illinois.
What Should I Do If I 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.
Talk to a snow removal contact expert after you are injured. We can help you deal with the property owners who did not handle the snow removal, or snow and ice clean up, properly.
Why Should I Consider a Snow Removal Case?
Many people are wary of the time and energy involved in cases. They wonder whether it is worth the reward of a jury verdict or settlement.
Yet, it is important to consider how the incident affected you before you make any decision on this matter. If you don't bring a snow removal claim, you won't be able to get any help for these harms and losses at all.
Here are some of the most common injuries suffering that result from snow and ice accidents, including slips and falls:
- Broken bones
- Herniated discs
- Shoulder damage
- Ligament sprains and strains
These can happen anywhere to-parking lots, pedestrian traffic on walkways, in facilities, etc. When they do occur, you need to be prepared or the business will destroy your ability to recover. We can help you when they do and the next section outlines the kind of recovery that is possible.
What Can I Recover in a Slip and Fall Case involving Snow and Ice?
The nature of anyone's recovery depends on their injuries. You cannot use someone else's award or settlement agreement to justify your recovery package.
So, how were you harmed? What expenses did the accident incur for you? Do you experience ongoing injury or loss? Normally, plaintiffs in this field of litigation recover on the following damages categories:
- Healthcare expenses
- Damaged or lost personal property
- Lost income
- Long-term pain and suffering and other intangible negative effects
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Case After I Slip on Ice or Snow?
Typically, personal injury victims in Illinois have two years to bring a case for economic or non-economic damages against a property owner or similar defendant.
This time period is set forth in 735 ILCS 5/13-202. There are some exceptions, but two years is the generally accepted standard.
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 many things, such as:
- what the company did or did not do with respect to the inclement conditions
- how the incident occurred
- how the defendant's actions compare to a reasonable actor's in similar circumstances.
The legal obligation and business owner's responsibility after a fall accident is enough to confuse an attorney let alone a jury. Our law firm can see if the property owner or property manager acted within a reasonable time.
Illinois' premises liability law is clear as to when they have to clear snow and can be held liable. Our legal team can gather evidence as to the other person's negligence if they didn't keep sidewalks clear of snow, ice, or other hazards.
It is their responsibility if they act to keep the property clear, remove ice, and take other steps to make public walkways, public sidewalks, or parking lots safer. This applies to a city sidewalk if owned by the public or a private thruway.
You may be entitled to medical expenses, attorney fees, and more if they did not act accordingly. Call our offices to find out what recovery and compensation may be available to you under Illinois after an accident.
Talk to a Snow and Ice Accident Lawyer Today
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has combed through many snow removal 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.