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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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