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Are Homeowners Liable for Injuries Caused by Conditions on their Land?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Champaign personal injury attorney slip and fall

The Midwest can get down to single-digit temperatures in the winter. If you are like many Illinois residents, dealing with snow and ice is a major part of your life in the winter months. Not only is snow and ice a hassle to deal with, but it can also lead to serious or even life-threatening injuries. If you slipped on ice and fell or otherwise suffered an injury because of snow or ice, you may be interested in learning about your legal options. In Illinois, a piece of legislation called the Snow and Ice Removal Act describes the rights and responsibilities individuals have regarding snow and ice removal.

Do Homeowners Have to Remove Snow and Ice?

Most people agree that shoveling snow from sidewalks, walkways, steps, and porches is part of being a good neighbor. However, homeowners are not required to remove snow from sidewalks by state law. The Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act was passed in 1979 to address snow and ice removal and injuries caused by snow and ice on private property. According to this legislation, homeowners are not typically liable for injuries caused by snowy or icy conditions on their property. However, a homeowner may be legally responsible for snow or ice injuries in certain circumstances.  

Situations in Which Homeowners May Be Liable for Injuries Caused by Snow and Ice

There are some situations in which a homeowner may be legally responsible for snow or ice-related injury on their property. If an injury was caused by an “unnatural accumulation” of ice or snow, the homeowner may be liable. It is hard to define exactly what constitutes an unnatural accumulation, but typically a homeowner may be liable for injuries caused by snow and ice accumulation if:

  • The homeowner acted “willfully or wantonly”

  • The homeowner intentionally created a hazardous condition such as leaving water to freeze on a sidewalk

  • The owner’s negligent removal or modification of snow or ice created a dangerous condition

Although Illinois state law does not require homeowners to remove snow or ice, local laws vary. For example, the city of Chicago does require homeowners to clear their sidewalks. If they do not remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their home, they may face a minimum fine of $50.

Contact a Decatur Slip-and-Fall Injury Lawyer

If you were injured because of snow or ice on a residential property, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, which may include medical bills and lost wages. Contact a Springfield personal injury attorney from the experienced legal team at Kanoski Bresney. We can help you determine if the homeowner may be liable for your damages. Call 888-826-8682 to schedule your free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/511051508-il-supreme-court-law-shields-homeowners-from-suits-over-snow-removal-not-unnatural-ice

https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdot/supp_info/sidewalk_snow_removal.html

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