Believe it or not, winter is just around the corner. And the City Council is already looking toward the season where the snow flies, vowing to crack down on property owners who do not shovel their snow. Chicago personal injury attorneys know that sidewalks can be treacherous during long Chicago winters, particularly if there are stretches that have not been properly shoveled or maintained by property owners. They are a slip and fall hazard just waiting to happen.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports, “Chicagoans who neglect to shovel their snow-covered sidewalks this winter could be in for a big surprise — a warning notice, followed by a ticket — if an influential alderman has his way.” Property owners – both homeowners and businesses – are legally obligated to shovel the sidewalk in front of their home or business, but in seasons past the ordinance has rarely been enforced. If you do receive a ticket, it will cost you between $50 and $100.
The new crackdown on the snow removal ordinance would give each property owner one or two warnings before receiving a ticket. The use of Blackberry technology – which has been provided to all 50 Chicago ward superintendents – will aid the process of reporting and ticketing snow shoveling violations. The ward superintendent would snap a photo of the snow shoveling violation, type in an electronic ticket and email it to the Law Department. Blackberry technology utilizes GPS coordinates which aid in identifying the exact location of the property.
While most of the aldermen are in agreement that snow removal needs to be taken seriously, they realize that going up and down the block writing tickets may create problems for businesses and homeowners. Additionally, Ald. Leslie Hairston has indicated that the warnings and tickets should be primarily focused on businesses, as some homeowners may be physically unable to shovel their sidewalks.
Not only is shoveling the sidewalk in front of your property required by this ordinance, it is also in your best interest to avoid a Chicago personal injury incident from occurring on your property. If someone slips and falls because you have not shoveled or maintained your property, you may be liable for their injuries. Chicago personal injury attorneys encourage everyone to be proactive about maintaining their property – including snow removal – to avoid personal injury in Chicago. A little work throughout the year spent on upkeep could save you tremendous headaches later in the form of personal injury lawsuits in Chicago.
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