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Can a person in Illinois sue for a wintertime slip-and-fall?

Winter weather is coming to Illinois. This means the inevitable ice storms and even snow storms. While different areas of the state experience different types of winter weather, what everyone can agree on is that simply put, it is a hassle. It makes driving difficult but even more important it leaves even basic activities such as taking a walk difficult.

Those who have slipped and fallen on ice are lucky if they simply come away with a bruise and a damaged ego. Unfortunately, many times when a person slips on ice or snow their injuries are much more severe. They can suffer broken bones, back injuries and head injuries. When this happens, they may need extensive (and expensive) medical care. They may also need to take and extended leave from work, leading to lost wages. Also, they'll have to endure the pain and suffering the incident caused.

For these reasons, those injured in slip-and-fall accidents on icy or snowy surfaces may wonder if there is any way they can pursue legal compensation for the damages they suffered. In general, property owners -- unless a local ordinance says otherwise -- are not required to remove the ice and snow that falls on their sidewalks, driveways or parking lots. However, this is not the case if there is an unnatural accumulation of winter precipitation.

For example, a property owner may be responsible if ice falls on their rooftop, melts, drips into a stopped up drain and then freezes in a puddle on the surface below. Or, if a parking lot is sloped, it could result in melting ice that refreezes into black ice. Also, if a property owner does choose to shovel, snowblow or in some other way remove the ice from his or her property, he or she will be liable if he or she does so negligently.

As this shows, under circumstances it may be possible in some circumstances to hold a property owner liable for slip-and-fall accidents on ice or snow. Of course, this is very dependent on the facts of a person's case, so those who are interested in pursuing such lawsuits may first want to seek the advice of an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Conditions Leading to Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents," Accessed Dec. 11, 2017

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