Should You Shovel the Sidewalk in Front of Your House?

The answer sounds simple, doesn't it? If you said "yes" and you live in Illinois, you might want to think twice about actually shoveling snow or ice from your sidewalk.

Someone who slips and falls on a walkway that has not been shoveled cannot sue the landowner since the owner is not responsible for natural accumulations of snow or ice even if it later freezes over and causes a personal injury.

There are exceptions by local rules such as town ordinances. So where you live in Illinois becomes important. Oddly enough, even businesses who maintain sidewalks are generally not responsible for injuries caused by natural accumulations of snow or ice. So if you are walking through a parking lot, for example, after snowfall and slip in the parking lot, the owner generally will not be responsible to pay for your medical bills or injuries.

While great mounds of white snow are commonplace in Illinois throughout the winter, snow and ice rules are not as simple as black and white. Consider a recent case in which the landowner hired a contractor to plow the snow in his parking lot. The natural accumulation of snow which was better left untouched, was piled by the snowplow into mini mountains. The mini mountains re-froze into ice. When someone walked across the now unnatural ice skating pond and fell, the owner became negligent when he took what was a natural accumulation of snow and made it into a mini ice rink.

The lesson here is if you take on the duty of removing snow make sure you remove all of it and keep the area where you worked hazard free for walkers. Also don't forget to check your local town or city ordinances for specifics.

If you are in need of a slip and fall personal injury lawyer, contact the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 located in Hinsdale, Illinois.

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