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Update on Liability for Snow and Ice Removal in Illinois

The Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act gives protection to landowners who remove snow and ice from their premises.  The General Assembly has declared that it is the public policy in Illinois that owners and others residing in residential units be encouraged to clean the sidewalks abutting their residences of snow and ice.  Thus, the General Assembly determined that a person should not be liable for damages due to his or her efforts to remove snow or ice from sidewalks, except in the case of clear wrongdoing.   
The Snow and Ice Removal Act should be considered together with Illinois common law, which has clearly established that there is no duty for a landowner to remove natural accumulations of ice or snow from common areas under his or her control, with certain exceptions.  
Recently, in Murphy-Hylton v. Leiberman Management Services, Inc. et al, 2015 IL App (1st) 142804, the Illinois Appellate Court held that the protection provided by the Snow and Ice Removal Act does not apply when a plaintiff's complaint does not allege negligent snow removal efforts by the landowner, but instead alleges the landowner negligently maintained or constructed the premises.   
Under this ruling, if a landowner negligently creates or maintains a condition on his property that creates an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice, they are not given protection by the Snow and Ice Removal Act.  The landowner is only entitled to protection when the injured party claims that the landowner negligently removed snow or ice, resulting in the injuries.

To learn more about the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act, or liability for slip and fall injuries on a landowner's premises, please contact the Civil Litigation attorneys at Bozeman, Neighbour, Patton, & Noe, LLP.