People are injured in slip and fall accidents on a daily basis, and depending upon the height of the fall, the type of surface, and the victim’s ability to react, these accidents can easily lead to serious injury. Slip and falls can happen anywhere, including at a store, a neighbor’s home, or a public sidewalk. All property owners, including the government, have a duty to keep their premises in a safe condition, and failure to do so can lead to legal liability if a person is injured as a result.
In Illinois, winter will be here soon enough, and everyone knows the dangers presented by the accumulation of snow and ice. A New Lenox man sued Lowe’s earlier this year after he fell on an uneven surface covered in water, ice, and snow. Given the fact that everyone faces this type of risk when they venture out of their homes, it is important to understand how the law addresses legal responsibility if a fall and injury do occur. In addition, people should understand how liability for the accumulation of snow and ice is handled under Illinois law.
General Rules for Slip and Fall Liability
Property owners have a duty of care to protect people visiting for business or social purposes from harm (trespassers receive no legal protection against injury, except for intentional reckless acts by the property owner). Specifically, all property owners, whether private or open to the public, have a duty of reasonable care to keep their premises safe by fixing problems or warning guests of dangerous conditions they would not otherwise reasonably understand exist. This includes a duty on the part of the owner to inspect for potential problems and remedy them within a reasonable time. For example, if a store employee sees a spill on the floor in an area used by customers, waiting four hours to clean it up is likely too long, and this delay can expose the business to liability if a customer slipped, fell, and was injured in the interim....