Archive for Snow Removal

Illinois COMMERCIAL PROPERTY AND SIDEWALK SNOW REMOVAL

If you read my last article, you will remember I made reference to the “Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act.” It is important to understand that the law applies only to residential property. The legal obligations for businesses are very different.

Most businesses are within a city, so make certain you know the local municipal ordinances regarding your obligations as a merchant in your city.

The next principle that applies is the same as for residential property. If you disturb the natural accumulation of snow, and doing so creates a more dangerous situation than if you had not disturbed the snow (the natural accumulation rule), the business owner can be found liable for injuries from slipping on the ice. This is usually the situation where snow is piled on a parking lot, melts during the day, and then creates slippery ice the next morning. So should you just leave the snow where it is? NO!!!

An Illinois court explained the rule clearly when it said that the operator of a business has a duty to provide a safe means of entering and leaving the property. The court went on to say that business owners are not excused from the obligation to keep their property safe by the “natural accumulation” rule that protects residential property owners from liability.

If you own a business, you are inviting customers to your property. You have a legal obligation to keep those invitees safe from dangers inside and outside your structure. The same principle applies to wet slippery floors, falling ice cycles, icy steps or parking lots, and snow covered walks.

Comments

SHOULD I REMOVE SNOW FROM MY SIDEWALK – Or HOW LAW CAN SOMETIMES PROVIDE EXCUSES TO DO THE WRONG THING.

We’ve probably all heard that if you shovel your sidewalk after a snow, that you can be found liable if someone slips, so it is better to just leave the snow and ice as it is.

Let’s deal with residential property in this article, as opposed to commercial property. Believe it or not, there is a 1986 law called, “The Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act.” The law states that it should be public policy that any property owners or residents removing snow or ice from sidewalks abutting their residences should not be found liable for damages because of that removal. This law covers you, your landlord, your roommate, and the kid you hire to shovel the snow.

There a few minor exceptions to this rule. If you commit “misconduct” due to “acts or omissions” and that misconduct was “willful or wanton” you can be found liable if someone falls on the sidewalk. And pay particular attention to the word “sidewalk” in the name of the act. At least one court has interpreted the act not applicable to driveways – but it does apply to your porch. In other words, you do not have the protection of the snow removal act in your driveway, but you are protected on your sidewalks and porch.

If someone is injured on your property, they will probably try to collect from your homeowner’s insurance company, whether you shoveled the snow or not. Just be sure you don’t make things worse by shoveling. If you leave piles of snow above the sidewalk, that snow will melt during the day, and water will collect on the sidewalk. In the morning there will be ice – ice that is there only because of your shoveling. So think of the consequences of clearing sidewalks. Be sure melting snow leaves no ice where a person can slip.

And if you live in town, check with the city hall to see if your community has a snow removal ordinance. Ask for a copy of it, or have someone explain to you.

Comments

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY AND SIDEWALK SNOW REMOVAL

If you read my last article, you will remember I made reference to the “Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act.” It is important to understand that the law applies only to residential property. The legal obligations for businesses are very different.

Most businesses are within a city, so make certain you know the local municipal ordinances regarding your obligations as a merchant in your city.

The next principle that applies is the same as for residential property. If you disturb the natural accumulation of snow, and doing so creates a more dangerous situation than if you had not disturbed the snow (the natural accumulation rule), the business owner can be found liable for injuries from slipping on the ice. This is usually the situation where snow is piled on a parking lot, melts during the day, and then creates slippery ice the next morning. So should you just leave the snow where it is? NO!!!

An Illinois court explained the rule clearly when it said that the operator of a business has a duty to provide a safe means of entering and leaving the property. The court went on to say that business owners are not excused from the obligation to keep their property safe by the “natural accumulation” rule that protects residential property owners from liability.

If you own a business, you are inviting customers to your property. You have a legal obligation to keep those invitees safe from dangers inside and outside your structure. The same principle applies to wet slippery floors, falling ice cycles, icy steps or parking lots, and snow covered walks.

Comments

SHOULD I REMOVE SNOW FROM MY SIDEWALK ?

We’ve probably all heard that if you shovel your sidewalk after a snow, that you can be found liable if someone slips, so it is better to just leave the snow and ice as it is.

Let’s deal with residential property in this article, as opposed to commercial property. Believe it or not, there is a 1986 law called, “The Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act.” The law states that it should be public policy that any property owners or residents removing snow or ice from sidewalks abutting their residences should not be found liable for damages because of that removal. This law covers you, your landlord, your roommate, and the kid you hire to shovel the snow.

There a few minor exceptions to this rule. If you commit “misconduct” due to “acts or omissions” and that misconduct was “willful or wanton” you can be found liable if someone falls on the sidewalk. And pay particular attention to the word “sidewalk” in the name of the act. At least one court has interpreted the act not applicable to driveways – but it does apply to your porch. In other words, you do not have the protection of the snow removal act in your driveway, but you are protected on your sidewalks and porch.

If someone is injured on your property, they will probably try to collect from your homeowner’s insurance company, whether you shoveled the snow or not. Just be sure you don’t make things worse by shoveling. If you leave piles of snow above the sidewalk, that snow will melt during the day, and water will collect on the sidewalk. In the morning there will be ice – ice that is there only because of your shoveling. So think of the consequences of clearing sidewalks. Be sure melting snow leaves no ice where a person can slip.

And if you live in town, check with the city hall to see if your community has a snow removal ordinance. Ask for a copy of it, or have someone explain to you.

Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: