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Did you slip and fall on ice and injure yourself? Here’s what you should know about the law in Illinois

Posted On January 08, 2014

By Neal B. Strom of Strom & Associates, Ltd. posted in Pedestrian Accidents on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

The latest bout of freezing temperatures we’ve experienced in the Chicagoland area recently is one for the record books. Literally, we set a record in Illinois with our recent deep freeze. I imagine that our office will be receiving phone calls and emails reporting injuries due to falls on “black ice”. Here are some aspects of the law in Illinois regarding these types of accidents.

Generally, property owners are not required to remove “natural accumulations” of ice on their property. Further property owners are generally not liable if they clear snow revealing ice underneath. There is no duty to warn the public of the presence of ice.
You can see the deck is rather stacked against the injured person since Illinois requires an “unnatural accumulation” of ice to cause the slip and injury. What is an “unnatural accumulation“? It is hard to define and it is more helpful if I provide examples.
In a case, a snow mound created by a plow company was pushed adjacent to a sidewalk. The thawing and freezing of the snow from that mound creating ice was possibly an “unnatural accumulation” for the jury to decide.
A case which I worked on personally involved a hole in a tarp covering above the entrance of a video rental store. The snow held by the tarp melted and formed an ice patch below the tarp. That was considered a potential “unnatural accumulation”.
Where a property owner attempts to remove the ice or snow and does so negligently creating an additional layer of ice to form has been considered an unnatural accumulation of ice.
As you can see, it is difficult to pin-down the exact circumstances that would give rise to an “unnatural accumulation”. Safe travels.

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