It’s been another snowy, icy, and cold winter in Illinois. With that comes slush and slippery sidewalks, parking lots and entryways. I’ve had more calls from people looking for Illinois slip and fall attorneys this winter than any time in my 25-year career.
Let’s start with the bad news. Illinois has some very tough slip and fall laws when it comes to falls on snow and ice. There is, generally speaking, no obligation on building owners to shovel or salt their property. There are some exceptions of course, but in most cases, if the basis of your lawsuit is “they should have put salt down” you will lose.
In addition, property owners are generally not liable for injuries that occur due to falls from naturally accumulating snow or ice. So if the parking lot is slippery while it’s snowing, accidents that occur there probably won’t lead to a successful case. On the other hand, if an area is slippery because they threw hot water on it and it froze over or if ice developed from coming down off a roof, that would be unnatural. I would estimate that 19 out of 20 calls I get are the result of naturally happening snow and ice.
To make matters worse, when you fall inside a store because people dragged in water from their wet shoes, that’s also not usually a case. Stores aren’t required to put out mats or continuously mop a wet area.
So what’s the good news?
This is an Illinois workers’ compensation blog. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is a no-fault law which means that you don’t have to prove negligence when you are hurt at work. So if you are making a delivery to a customer and fall in their icy parking lot, that’s a work comp case. If you work at Jewel, Mariano’s, Walmart, or any other store and slip on a floor that is wet because customers’ shoes are wet, you have a case. If your employer owns the parking lot you fall in and they didn’t salt it, you can’t sue them, but you can bring a workers compensation claim.
When it’s another business where you get hurt, we’ll analyze whether or not you have a lawsuit against them too. But if you are one of the 19 out of 20 calls that we get that doesn’t have a personal injury lawsuit, if you were on the job when this happened we can still help you. That, all things considered, is good news. Your bills will get paid. You will be compensated for your time off of work. And you’ll get a settlement when all is said and done.
These cases can be tricky and insurance companies do play games with them. If you’d like to discuss your accident for free, call us any time at 312-346-5578.