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Snow and Ice Removal Liability

Snow and Ice Removal Liability

I know this blog is called Straight Talk From A Lawyer, but I need to remind readers that each fact situation is different. I am giving you my general impressions of what the law is. However, if you think you have a case, then you need to consult a lawyer. Its similar to medical websites. You shouldn’t rely upon them to diagnose or treat your condition.


Illinois has a statute called the Snow & Ice Removal Act, 745 ILCS Sec. 75/0.01. Generally, the statute provides that a property owner or contractor cannot be held liable for negligent snow and ice removal. Thus, if a snow plow service plows snow into piles next to sidewalk and the snow melts and re-freezes on that same sidewalk, then there is no negligent liability for anyone who falls on the icy patch. Willful and wanton misconduct must be proven in order to receive compensation for injuries caused by snow and ice removal. This is much more difficult to prove. Generally, that is how the statute operates.

In Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Mgmt Services, 2016 IL 120394 (2016)., Plaintiff slipped and fell on an icy patch that developed on a sidewalk due to a defective downspout. The downspout caused water to drain directly on to the sidewalk where it would freeze. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the statute did not apply because the icy patch developed due to a defective condition on the property, not because of any alleged negligent snow or ice removal.

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