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Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

crack-3364707_1920-1024x768 In Illinois, cities and municipalities are generally immune from lawsuits. In order to bring a lawsuit against a city or municipality, you have to show that the government acted intentionally or showed a “conscious disregard” for the safety of others. This is called willful and wanton conduct.

City and suburban sidewalks are in a state of disrepair across Illinois. A broken or unlevel sidewalk isn’t just unsightly, it’s dangerous. A small crack or a level change hidden beneath snowy conditions can pose a serious hazard to children, joggers, and the elderly. At night, the danger becomes much greater and individuals can fall victim to and suffer a fall on an unmaintained sidewalk.

Typically, cities and municipalities are not responsible for small cracks or level changes that are less than 2 inches. This is often referred to as the De Minimus rule and it protects governments from being sued if you trip or slip and fall because of a small defect in a sidewalk. But for larger cracks and level changes, cities and municipalities can be held responsible for failing to inspect and repair dangerous sidewalks.

snow-thrower-951149_1920-300x200Chicago winters can be brutal. Between the frigid temperatures, snow, and ice, sometimes it seems like spring may never arrive. While the Polar Vortex has gone, the dangers of snow and ice linger on. Chicago sees the majority of its snowfall from New Year’s Day until February, averaging 10 inches of snow per month. Ice and snow can cause falls and other serious injuries. A fall on ice is not uncommon in Chicago winters. But who is liable if you fall on icy sidewalks, driveways, or walkways?

With icy conditions on our streets, roads, and sidewalks, falls and serious injuries can become more common. Falls on snow or ice can cause you to break bones, suffer a traumatic brain injury or worse. Illinois law, however, protects property owners and managers in the event of a slip and fall caused by a natural accumulation of ice and snow.

The Snow and Ice Removal Act does not require property owners or managers to clear ice and snow from sidewalks or remove a “natural accumulation” of snow from their property.  The Act also provides immunity to property owners who do shovel but don’t do a great job of removing the snow and ice. Because of this, the Act protects landowners and landlords from liability in many slip-and-fall cases. This can prevent you from recovering compensation for your injuries. So what should you do if you fall and are injured as a result of snow and ice accumulation?

supermarket-949913_1920.jpgSlip and fall accidents in stores or restaurants can be more than just embarrassing, they can lead to very serious injuries. These falls can be caused by uneven surfaces, dangerous flooring materials, or spills on the floor. Stores and restaurants have an obligation to keep you safe from dangerous conditions on their property. Many times, the restaurant or store knew about the dangerous condition that caused your fall but did nothing to keep you safe.

If you slip and fall in a store or restaurant, here is what you should do to make sure that you are protected:

Call an Ambulance or Seek Medical Attention

Ice and Snow Injuries and the Partial Immunity of Land Owners

The Illinois Supreme Court has recently ruled on a case that could shed some light on the duties and responsibilities of landowners during this frigid weather and the recent snowfall. The case, Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc., distinguishes the duties of landlords for snow and ice removal. Historically, landowners have no duty to remove natural accumulations of snow and ice. However, landowners do owe a duty of reasonable care to prevent unnatural accumulations of ice and snow on their premises where they have actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.

Normally, plaintiffs had brought these negligence claims under two different theories. The first being when there was a defective condition of the property or negligent maintenance of that property, and the second being when the landowner voluntarily undertook efforts to remove snow or ice, and due to this effort an injury occurred. However, being that one could be sued for taking action and causing an injury, the fear of litigation led many landowners and landlords to refrain from attempting to remove snow or ice from their property. This inactivity led to the Snow and Ice Removal Act of 1979.

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