It is a snowy day in one of the coldest states in America, Illinois. Your apartment complex makes reasonable efforts to clear snow and ice from walkways, but their drainage systems are not kept up to code. A freezing rain storm hits, and the defunct drains cause an icy patch to form outside of your door. It is after business hours, so there is no way the apartment complex could order maintenance to clear the walkways.
You are coming home from a late night at the office and you fall on the ice, sustaining serious injuries that cause you to miss work. Medical bills pile up and your pain and suffering is great. A costly lawsuit ensues, but the property owner can prove that they make reasonable efforts to clear the walkways. The owner says that an Act of God is beyond their control and that they do not owe you anything for your slip and fall injuries.
The above situation is real for many Illinois residents, but thanks to a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling, property owners may now be found liable for dangerously icy conditions.
The Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act
Illinois statute Civil Immunities (745 ILCS 75/) or the Snow and Ice Removal Act, as it is widely known, was written to encourage property owners to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice without fear of being held liable for injuries resulting from their efforts (or lack thereof). The statue states that unless the owner has been found committing acts of “clear wrongdoing,” then he or she is generally not liable for slip and fall accidents that occur on the premises in question.
Clarification of the Snow and Ice Removal Act
The case that shook things up was Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc. The conflict at a bar involved a similar situation as the hypothetical one described above. The plaintiff, Pamela Murphy-Hylton, slip and fell on the sidewalk in front of her condominium. The condominium complex (Lierber Management) had contracted a management service to clear out snow and ice from the walkways. This the defendants did without error, but they failed in maintaining the complex’s drainage system according to city codes. This, the plaintiff argued, resulted in her falling and the subsequent injuries.
The case made it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, who sided with the plaintiff. The majority’s opinion, in short, said that the Snow and Ice Removal Act does not exempt property owners from negligence if they have not maintained the premises in accordance with current maintenance codes.
Have You Been Injured?
If you or a loved one has been injured by slipping and falling, please contact our firm as soon as possible. We have legal professionals standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you. Our legal team can live chat with you any hour of the day, or please feel free to call our law firm and speak to one of our representatives.
Contacting us can make all the difference when faced with loss of wages and quality of life. Do not suffer alone. There are legal professionals here who can help you get back on your feet and get the monetary damages you deserve. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Aaron Burden)