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IL injury lawyerIllinois winters can be intense. Snow and ice can make something as simple as going to the grocery store or visiting a neighbor a treacherous journey. Slipping and falling on ice can lead to severe injuries – especially if the fall victim is elderly or has health concerns. Traumatic brain injuries, back and spine injuries, broken bones, and other debilitating injuries can result from falling on ice or snow. If you or a loved one were injured in a slip and fall accident involving icy or snowy conditions, you may wonder if the property owner is liable for the accident. In Illinois, the answer to this question is more complicated than you may suspect.

When is a Homeowner or Business Legally Responsible for An Injury Caused by Ice?

Clearing walkways and sidewalks of snow and ice is an important part of being a homeowner or business owner. You may be surprised to learn, however, that snow and ice removal is not mandated by Illinois state law. Although some local jurisdictions may require homeowners to clear sidewalks, steps, and walkways of snow and ice, there are no laws requiring property owners to remove snow and ice. In fact, state law specifically protects property owners from liability for ice or snow-related injuries. According to the Snow and Ice Removal Act, a property owner or property occupier is not liable for personal injuries caused by icy properties. However, there are important exceptions to this law. If the owner or occupier acted in a way that was intentionally malicious or especially reckless, he or she may be liable for ice-related injuries. If the injury occurred on a rental property or at an apartment complex and the landlord has specified in the lease that he or she will be responsible for ice and snow removal, the landlord may be liable if injuries result from his or her failure to remove snow and ice.

Unnatural Accumulations of Snow and Ice

Illinois law makes a distinction between natural accumulations of ice and snow and unnatural accumulations. Property owners may avoid liability for injuries caused by snow or ice that accumulated as a result of the weather. However, property owners may be liable for snow and ice injuries if their actions caused the snowy or icy condition. For example, if a business shoveled a parking lot and left a pile of snow near the business’s entrance and the snowmelt froze into ice, the business may be liable if someone is injured by slipping on the ice.

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IL injury lawyerIf you are like most people, you have probably fallen many times in your life. The unique thing about falling is that many fall accidents result in little more than small bruises while some fall accidents result in severe or even permanent injuries. Falling can lead to injuries to the head, brain, spinal cord, vertebrae, and more. Falls can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and life-long pain. Often, a major fall accident is caused by environmental hazards like spilled liquids or cluttered walkways. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, you should know that you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Property Owners Have a Duty to Keep Premises Clear of Slip and Trip Hazards

According to Illinois law, property owners have a legal duty to keep their properties reasonably safe. These laws protect customers, clients, visitors, and anyone with a legal right to be on a property. Property owners cannot prevent every potential injury on their properties. However, they should take steps to reduce the chances of people being injured on their property to a reasonable degree. Environmental hazards that may lead to a slip and fall or trip and fall accident include:

  • Wet floors caused by spilled liquids, condensation, or leaks
  • Slippery floors caused by cleaners, soap, wax, or dust
  • Broken concrete and potholes
  • Uneven pavement
  • Loose or broken floor tiles
  • Torn carpeting and loose rugs
  • Debris or clutter in aisles, sidewalks, or walkways
  • Broken stairs and missing handrails
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Loose electrical cords

Seeking Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury Caused by an Environmental Hazard

A slip and fall or trip and fall accident may lead to painful injuries and considerable financial harm. If a property owner or property occupier’s failure to remedy environmental hazards leads to a person’s injury, the property owner or occupier may be liable for damages. If you were injured in a preventable fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income from missed work, pain and suffering, and more.

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IL accident lawyerProperty owners and possessors have a duty of care to keep their property reasonably safe for invited guests to the property. This includes properly maintaining the property, taking reasonable steps to remove environmental hazards, and providing adequate security. When a property owner or possessor fails to uphold his or her duty to maintain a safe property and someone is injured or killed as a result, a premises liability claim can help the injured person or surviving family members recover compensation. Although many people typically think of things like broken staircases or wet floors when they think about premises liability, inadequate security can also lead to a premises liability claim.

Insufficient Building Security Can Lead to Injuries

Understandably, property owners cannot be held responsible for acts of violence that are unforeseeable. However, when a person is injured in an attack and that attack could have been prevented through better security, the property owner may be considered negligent.

For example, imagine the following scenario: A hotel owner is notified that many of the locks on the hotel doors do not actually work. However, he ignores the problem and continues to rent the rooms with defective locks to hotel guests. A guest is sexually assaulted when an attacker easily gains entry into her hotel room. In this scenario, the owner who failed to maintain adequate security could be held liable for the woman’s damages.

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IL accident lawyerWhen you are visiting a neighbor, friend, or family member’s home, the last thing you probably expect is to suffer a serious injury. However, many people find themselves in this very situation. If you were injured in a fall accident, fire, or another incident while on another person’s property, you may wonder whether the other person is responsible for the costs incurred by your injury. The answer to this question largely depends on the circumstances of your injury and whether the property owner’s negligence contributed to the accident.

Injuries Caused by Property Owner Negligence

A property owner cannot prevent every injury on his or her property. After all, accidents do happen. However, property owners do have an obligation to keep their premises free of unreasonable hazards. If an unsafe condition does exist on someone’s property, the property owner should warn any guests to the property so that they can take the appropriate action to avoid injury. If a property owner, including a homeowner, fails to prevent foreseeable injuries on his or her property, it is possible that he or she will be liable for the costs incurred by those injuries. Dangerous conditions such as damaged stairs, loose handrails, slippery floors, icy walkways, or insufficient fire alarms may lead guests to be severely injured. If a property owner knew or should have known about a hazardous condition on his or her property and a guest was harmed because of the hazardous condition, the property owner may be responsible for the costs incurred by the injury. Fortunately, most homeowners have homeowner’s insurance which will cover the costs resulting from a guest’s injury.

Bringing a Claim Against the Property Owner’s Homeowner’s Insurance

If you suffered injuries that resulted in expensive medical bills and other costs while visiting someone else’s property, that person’s homeowner’s insurance may be liable for your damages. If you choose to bring a premises liability claim and pursue financial compensation, you will most likely be bringing the legal action against the insurance company – not the actual property owner. You may be entitled to compensation for your:

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IL injury lawyerWhen most people walk into a store, restaurant, hotel, apartment complex, house or another building, they do not worry about suffering an injury on the property. They simply trust that the individuals who designed and constructed the building ensured that the it was safe. In the majority of cases, this is true. However, when a building is constructed in violation of state and local building codes, the structure may have defects that can cause serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one were harmed in an accident and you suspect that the property was not up to code, you may have a valid premises liability claim.

Structural Defects Have the Potential to Cause Severe Bodily Injury

Property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is reasonably safe for the individuals lawfully visiting that property. Although not every injury can be avoided, the property should not contain preventable hazards or unreasonable dangers. If a visitor is harmed on an unsafe property, it is possible that the property owner or manager will be liable for the visitor's damages.

In order to ensure that properties are safe, state and local governments institute building codes. These rules regulate the types of materials and building practices used to construct and maintain buildings. Building code violations can be especially hazardous because they often affect the structural integrity of the building or building components. Some examples of building code violations that may lead to injury or death include:

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