Generally speaking, In Illinois, property owners are not responsible for natural accumulations of rain, ice or snow which cause a fall resulting in injuries. A simple slip and fall on a snowy sidewalk, for example, may not create a valid cause of action for damages. However, a property owner can be liable for negligently maintaining its property where an unnatural accumulation is created. An unnatural accumulation can be due to defective construction or improper or insufficient maintenance of the property. For example, an owner may be responsible for injuries caused by a hazardous accumulation created by poorly constructed or maintained drainage, such as a gutters or drain spouts. In winter weather, liability may be created by the negligent placement of snow or ice in areas that create hazards after piles begin to thaw and melt.
Because “natural accumulation” is often a successful defense for a property owner, and because the nature of a hazard from precipitation can change quickly with changes in weather and temperature, it is important to gather information and evidence at or near the time of your fall. If you believe someone may have created the hazard that caused you to fall, take photos of the area immediately, and speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can, so that your claims may be properly evaluated.
Thomas Polacek practices in the area of personal injury for McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC. He has tried both civil and criminal cases in Illinois and Missouri, as well as in Federal District Court. He has been a successful trial attorney for over 25 years, and he prides himself on keeping his clients well-informed throughout the litigation process.
MPM encourages anyone who has been injured through another’s negligence to contact Tom for a free consultation as soon as possible so that he may review your case and provide you with the proper direction to proceed with your claims.