It has been a long winter for Chicago residents, but the worst might not be over yet. As the snow starts to melt, it is important that business owners remember that they have a duty to properly clear snow and ice from sidewalks. Because, yes, there is still a chance that snow could fall and the melt could freeze overnight.
A patch of slick ice or snow that has been compacted to the point that it creates a very uneven walking path could easily cause someone to slip and fall or trip and fall. It isn’t funny when a patron lands on his or her tailbone. This type of fall can put a young individual out of work for weeks or cause extra health complications for an elderly resident.
Not only do businesses in Illinois have a duty to keep the aisles within their store free from spilled liquid that could cause a slip-and-fall accident, but they also have a duty to make sure that any snow or ice is properly removed from the sidewalks or parking lots located around the facility.
While the natural accumulation of snow fall after a storm may not lead to liability in Illinois, improper removal could. We mentioned above that uneven ground can cause a patron to trip. Let’s say that the owner plows the snow one day, but leaves some gaps or strips of unplowed snow? Then it snows again a couple days later? An individual then trips on the icy lip below the natural layer of snow. Is the store owner liable?
There are times when it is the little details that matter in the outcome of a case. An attorney that focuses on premises liability cases can help pinpoint the ones that help a victim obtain the compensation that he or she is eligible for.
Source: Evansville Courier & Press, “Onus on businesses to clear snow, ice danger,” Rodney K. Miller, March 3, 2014