It is not uncommon for a person to slip and fall due to winter conditions, especially here in Chicago. These falls usually are not serious, many times more humorous than painful. However not everyone who slips on an icy sidewalk or parking lot is laughing. Serious injuries can occur, leaving the victim with painful injuries that can result in medical costs, time lost from work and even permanent disabilities. If the fall is caused by the property owner’s negligence, they can be liable for injuries.
Injuries Caused By Slips & Falls
The action of slipping and falling can be more dangerous than many might think. Although it happens all the time and to everyone at one point or another, a fall due to slippery conditions can be more severe. The momentum and force that happens when a person slips on snow and ice coupled with landing on a hard surface can cause serious soft tissue injuries, fractured bones, brain trauma and even death. In 2010, over 26,000 people died from falls, showing how deadly a simple slip can be. Some of the more common injuries from falls on snow and ice include:
- Herniated disc
- Arm, wrist or hand fracture
- Knee injuries
- Leg, pelvis or hip fractures
- Whiplash injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
There were almost 9 million emergency room visits to treat injuries from falls in 2011, many from slips on snow or ice. These injuries can result in painful recovery and financial hardships for those trying to cover medical bills on their own.
Illinois Snow & Ice Fall Liability For Property Owners When Guests Are injured
Although most premise and property liabilities are fairly simple, liability for falls due to snow and ice are not as concise in Illinois. Just because a person falls and is injured on another person or company’s property due to icy walkways or parking lots does not mean the property owner is liable. In fact in most instances they will not be liable, regardless of how severe the injury is or how slippery the area was.
The reason is that Illinois does not hold property owner liable for injuries on their property due to “natural accumulation” of snow and ice and property owners are not responsible for removing snow or ice. However, there are circumstances in which the property owner can be held financially liable for injuries caused by a slip and fall due to icy conditions.
- Unnatural accumulation. This is when there are conditions on the property that caused accumulation of ice or snow. Piled snow or water purposely allowed to freeze on walkways could be examples of “unnatural accumulation”.
- Lease agreement. If there is a lease agreement that states that the property will be kept free of ice and snow accumulation, the property owner may be liable.
Anyone who is seriously injured from a slip and fall from snow and ice conditions that they believe were beyond natural conditions should discuss their accident with an experienced Illinois premises liability injury attorney. There may be financial relief available to help cover their injuries.
No matter the severity of your injuries, you still must establish that the owner of the property where you were injured was the negligent in the maintenance of his or her premises which may have contributed to your injuries. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents people who have been injured due to falls on ice and snow at the homes of friends or at businesses. Before you speak to an insurance carrier about your accident, we invite you to speak to an attorney who has experience successfully litigating these cases.
Learn more about the incidence of Illinois slip and fall accidents involving snow and ice: