Icy weather in Illinois recently has led to many accidents and injuries. Slick sidewalks can become treacherous, and regardless of a person’s age or physical condition, there are times where the ground seems just to be pulled out from under a person.
When ice forms on walkways, many people rush to put salt and de-icing materials on the surfaces to help reduce the risk of injuries. While shoveling and deicing is a great safety measure and helps people access businesses, in Illinois, there is no legal obligation for businesses to clear ice and snow from in front of their locations. This only applies to naturally forming ice and snow. This means that if someone falls on the ice that formed in freezing rain, the owner will not be liable for failing to salt that walkway.
However, there are instances where a business can be held liable when a person falls on their property. While the natural accumulation rule means the business is not liable for ice that formed because of the weather, the business must still provide “reasonable care.” This might simply mean that the business should place a caution sign warning people about the ice and snow on the property and advising caution.
If a store owner attempts to remove ice and snow from their location and does so in a way that leaves a slippery surface, and a person falls, then the store owner, despite their good intentions, could be held liable because the slick surface was no longer the result of the natural accumulation of snow and or ice.
Determining whether the store was liable may require speaking with an attorney who can analyze the accident scene.
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