I SLIPPED AND FELL ON WATER, SNOW OR ICE AT THE STORE. IS THE STORE LIABLE?

Generally, the answer depends on how the water, snow or ice accumulated on the property. If it is a “natural accumulation,” meaning that it was not caused or aggravated by the acts of any person, the courts will find no liability against the owner of the property. There is a substantial body of caselaw in Illinois involving natural accumulations, which is too complex to explain in one post. And, in fact, sometimes we see courts make rulings which we believe are inconsistent with how other courts have ruled in similar circumstances. But, keep in mind the following basic principles:

1. An owner has no duty to remove ice or snow that has generally resulted from natural accumulations, no matter how long the natural accumulation existed.

2. Municipal ordinances requiring snow removal do not create liability for a person injured in a fall on an uncleared area.

3. An owner who does remove snow and ice must do so in a reasonable manner. A simple pile of snow plowed or shoveled can cause an unnatural accumulation which would expose the owner to liability.

4. A person claiming injury must identify the cause of the water formation and must show that it was due to unnatural causes, or a natural cause that was aggravated by the owner who knew or should have known of the condition.

5. For residential property, the Illinois legislature (in the Snow and Ice Removal Act) has provided protection for homeowners who shovel their sidewalks. The Act grants immunity to residential owners or occupants who remove or attempt to remove snow or ice from a sidewalk as long as their conduct is not “willful or wanton.”

Again, these are basic principles. If you have been injured as a result of slipping or falling on water, snow or ice, it is important that you contact an attorney to see if you have a case. Mag Mile Law offers free consultations, so please feel free to contact us at [email protected] for a free consultation or for more information about our premises liability personal injury practice. Our premises liability personal injury attorneys are former defense attorneys, and now they are on YOUR side!

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