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How Does Chicago's Ice Clearing Law Affect Winter Slip and Falls?

 Posted on November 15, 2021 in Blog Post

IL injury lawyerChicago winters are serious business. Extreme temperatures, high winds, and heavy snowfalls bring yearly dangers to our city’s residents. Thousands of Illinois residents slip and fall on the ice every year. Most get up laughing, but an unlucky few suffer serious injuries. A Chicago city ordinance requires anyone who owns or has charge of a property to clear ice and snow from the sidewalk in front of their home or business.  Property owners and renters could face municipal fines for failing to shovel. However, this does not necessarily mean that anyone who fails to comply with this law is automatically liable to anyone who slips and falls in the snow on their sidewalk.

If you got hurt when you slipped and fell, it is best to talk over your options with a qualified attorney. Slip and fall cases are rarely as cut-and-dry as they may seem, and an attorney investigation may be needed to prove the cause of your accident.

What if I Got Hurt Because a Property Owner Did Not Shovel?

Chicago does have a municipal ordinance requiring anyone who has charge of a home or business that abuts a public sidewalk to remove ice and snow accumulations. However, the purpose of this law is more closely related to accessibility than safety. When this law was written, lawmakers were concerned with making sure that our sidewalks are clear for those who would otherwise have trouble making their way around Chicago. People who use mobility assistive devices like wheelchairs, as well as senior citizens and the visually impaired, may struggle to move about the city if the sidewalks are covered in snow. While clear sidewalks do tend to have the effect of reducing slip-and-fall accidents, that is not the primary purpose for the statute.

It may be extremely frustrating to be injured because someone elected to ignore this ordinance, but it does not automatically mean that person is liable to you. Regardless of local ordinances, Illinois determines slip and fall liability based on whether the accumulation of winter weather you slipped on was natural or unnatural. Statewide, property owners and managers do not have a duty to remove ice and snow from where it fell naturally.

Ironically, a property owner is more likely to be liable for a slip and fall if he does try to clear snow and ice but creates a bigger danger in doing so. When a  property owner creates an unnatural accumulation of snow and ice - such as by shoveling it into a big pile - he may be liable if someone is injured by that accumulation.

Contact a Cook County Slip-and-Fall Lawyer

If you were injured when you slipped and fell in the ice and snow on a city sidewalk, the Quinn Law Group may be able to recover compensation for you. Our qualified Park Ridge slip and fall attorneys have the experience necessary to navigate complex premises liability laws and fight for your claim. Call 847-232-7180 for a free consultation.





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