As winter starts to rear its ugly head, pedestrians and property owners alike should know all of the city’s codes when it comes to slips and falls on snow and ice. Although most pedestrians think property owners are liable for any slip and fall, the truth is a grey area exists in these claims and you must be aware of the laws no matter what side you are on. In some cases, pedestrians contact a fall accident attorney 100% certain they have a case only to find out they do not. On the other hand, property owners who believe they have done nothing wrong have been surprised when a Chicago slip and fall lawyer contacts them and advises they seek counsel immediately. The best advice any fall accident attorney will give you is to know the laws yourself so you can react appropriately if an accident does occur.
There are two codes the city of Chicago refers to the most when it comes to slip and falls and it is in the best interest of everyone to know them by heart. Please read the following and write then down for your reference:
Section 10-80180 of the Chicago Municipal Code states “every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground in the city abutting upon any public way or public place shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of such building or lot of ground.” (In simple terms, any home or business owner with a sidewalk in front of their home are responsible for removing the snow and ice).
Section 10-8-190 states “any person, who removes snow or ice from the public sidewalk or street, shall not, as a result of his acts or omissions in such removal, be liable for civil damages.” (This means a property or business owner may be considered negligent for failing to shovel, salt, or remove ice altogether, but not for performing these actions in a careless manner).
Another hot topic Chicago slip and fall lawyers must addresses is if the snow or ice was cause of natural accumulation or unnatural accumulation. Natural accumulation would be any snow or ice from blowing winds or a light snowfall, but unnatural accumulation is snow and ice being moved by plows, ice patches as a result from faulty roof drainage, or melting snow causing ice patches. As mentioned above all the details of the incident must be documented with a fall accident attorney and only they can properly represent you in a court of law.
If you think slip and falls cause only bumps and bruises – think again. Many people have broken bones and even suffered spinal cord injuries
due to the negligence of others in the winter. Your best defense is to remain vigilant at all times when walking around snow and ice. But if you do find yourself injured, try to take pictures of the scene and contact a Chicago slip and fall lawyer right away.