Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Slip and Fall Where Plaintiff Could not Prove Unnatural Accumulation of Ice and Snow

If you live in Chicago, you know that ice and snow are a serious threat to safety. Countless Illinois slip and fall accidents happen each year when property owners fail to take responsible action to mitigate the threat of injuries from accumulating ice and snow. If you were hurt on another person’s property as a result of their negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to start learning about your potential lawsuit.

Recently, an Illinois appellate court decided a case in which the plaintiff claimed that he suffered injuries when he slipped on ice on a sidewalk outside of his residence. He sued the homeowner’s association and the snow removal contractor that serviced the condo complex. Under Illinois law, a plaintiff in a slip and fall case based on ice or snow must show that there was an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow or that the ice and snow accumulated unnaturally as the result of something that the property owner was doing.

The defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis that the ice and snow on which the plaintiff slipped was the result of natural accumulation and that they had not done anything to cause a greater amount of ice or snow to accumulate. The homeowner’s association also alleged that it did not have notice of water or ice pooling on the sidewalk area where the plaintiff was injured. The plaintiff responded saying that he was suing not based on the theory of unnatural accumulation of ice and snow, but on the basis that the drainage system suffered from a defective design that resulted in an unnatural accumulation of ice and snow.

The court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff appealed after his motion for reconsideration was denied. On review, the appellate court first observed that the plaintiff’s complaint lacked any mention of a defective drainage system. Even if the complaint did include this information, dismissal would still have been proper according to the court. The evidence in the record did not show an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice and failed to show that the homeowner’s association had any notice about the potentially dangerous condition.

The appellate court also found dismissal of the contractor appropriate based on the terms of its service contract with the homeowner’s association. The contract required the company to keep the walkway clear so that tenants could access the mailboxes near where the plaintiff slipped. Evidence submitted throughout the litigation showed that the plaintiff slipped nowhere near the mailboxes and that the company had not done anything to cause an unnatural accumulation of ice and snow.

If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Therman Law Offices is prepared to help you with every aspect of your case including gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies. We have served injured persons throughout Illinois in a wide variety of premises liability actions. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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