Winter in Illinois normally brings levels of snow and ice that make spring feel very far away indeed for those who must spend time outside.
As a pedestrian, you must be extra careful on snowy, icy sidewalks. A slip-and-fall incident can have catastrophic consequences. Where would liability lie for any injuries you suffer?
The Snow and Ice Removal Act
In Illinois, the Snow and Ice Removal Act encourages property owners or managers of residential units to clean snow and ice from the sidewalks abutting their property. The Act does not find property owners or managers liable for damages that arise from their efforts to do so. However, liability may result for personal injuries that occur due to the negligence or “alleged misconduct” of a property owner or manager who fails to remove an “unnatural accumulation” of snow and ice. The Act states that a property owner or manager can cause unnatural accumulation:
- by maintaining the premises in a negligent manner
- by willfully creating hazardous conditions
- by ignoring code violations
- by failing to repair property defects that increase winter hazards
In a slip-and-fall accident, you will likely fall backward, which means you could hit your head. The result could be anything from a mild concussion to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms of a head injury may not appear immediately. However, you could experience headaches, blurred vision or other issues hours or even days after your fall.
It is essential to seek prompt medical attention, first, for your wellbeing, and second, because of the medical report that will confirm your diagnosis and the reason for your injury. If the circumstances point to property owner liability, the doctor’s report will be important when you file a claim for insurance compensation to cover your medical expenses and more.