Vague ruling means uncertainty for slip-and-fall ice lawsuits in state

Can you be held liable if someone slips and falls on ice outside your house? The Illinois Supreme Court says … maybe.

An Illinois Supreme Court opinion gives owners of icy sidewalks a reason to bust out some more salt. A 2007 case involves a suburban Chicago condo association and a woman who slipped on its sidewalks. The court said Illinois’ Snow and Ice Removal Act that says a reasonable effort is enough to protect you from a slip-and-fall lawsuit, but not in every situation.

Southern Illinois University law professor Michael Koehler said the condo’s poor sidewalk conditions led to a pooling of water that froze, thus making the condo board liable.

“It’s really a defective property-type case, not covered by the Snow and Ice Removal Act,” he said. “The Illinois Supreme Court merely held that these provisions do not relate to defective conditions of property, rather the more narrow issue of proper snow removal.”

Koehler said the takeaway from the ruling is that businesses need to keep water runoff from creating slippery conditions because Illinois’ snow and ice laws won’t protect you from slip-and-fall lawsuits.

Koehler said the suit can now be reheard, but the association will likely settle this one out of court.

Click here to see the Supreme Court’s ruling.

–Illinois News Network

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