When the weather gets cold and inclement weather strikes Iowa and Illinois, dangerous ice and snow conditions can lead to a variety of accidents.
In addition to causing motor vehicle crashes and other incidents on roadways across the states, ice and snow can also lead to dangerous slip and fall accidents on doorsteps, on walkways, and in parking lots.
What duties do property owners in Illinois and Iowa owe to others entering the property? In other words, what are snow removal laws, and what steps do property owners (or anyone in control of property) have to take in order to avoid liability?
These questions are important for anyone who has been injured in a dangerous slip and fall accident.
Generally speaking, property owners must remedy hazardous conditions on the property or warn about dangerous conditions. Laws concerning ice and snow removal vary from state to state. We will explain how this duty related to snow removal in Iowa and Illinois works.
Illinois: Snow and Ice Removal Act Does Not Create a Duty to Remove Natural Accumulations of Snow and Ice
Under Illinois law (745 ILCS 75/), property owners and renters are encouraged to remove snow and ice, but they are not liable for injuries in situations where snow and ice have accumulated naturally. The following are some key elements of the law:
- It is the public policy of Illinois that property owners and renters are encouraged to clear sidewalks abutting their properties of snow and ice;
- Property owners should not be liable for injuries resulting from efforts to remove snow and ice from sidewalks unless their actions involve “alleged misconduct [that] was willful or wanton.”
Illinois courts use the “Natural Accumulation Rule,” which says that property owners or renters do not have a duty to remove snow and ice from the premises when it has accumulated naturally. Moreover, property owners are not liable for any injuries in a slip and fall when the slip and fall resulted from a natural accumulation of snow and ice.
Property owners and renters also have no duty under Illinois law to remove snow and ice accumulations that occurred naturally and were tracked into the interior of a space. However, if a property owner attempts to remove snow and ice, and causes an even more dangerous condition, that property owner may be liable.
Be aware, however, that smaller governments within Illinois such as cities, towns, counties, townships, etc. may have passed specific ordinances that impose a higher standard on property owners. If you are unsure what your area may require, consult a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney to assist you.
Iowa Law Requires Removal of Snow and Ice
Within a Reasonable Period of Time
The snow and ice removal laws in Iowa are different than they are in Illinois. Under Iowa law (Iowa Code § 364.12), property owners specifically have a duty to remove the natural accumulations of ice and snow from the sidewalks within a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, property owners (or renters) can be held liable for damages caused by the failure of the abutting owner to use reasonable care in the removal of the ice or the snow.
In other words, property owners in Iowa (or anyone in control of property) do have a duty to remove even natural accumulations of snow and ice. And cities can have their own specific regulations.
In the City of Cedar Rapids, property owners—both residential and private businesses—have a duty to remove natural accumulations of snow and ice from their sidewalks within 48 hours. If you are unsure what your area may require, consult a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney to assist you.
Contact an Illinois and Iowa Premises
Do you have questions about snow removal and liability in Iowa or Illinois? An experienced Illinois and Iowa premises liability lawyer can help. At VanDerGinst Law we have attorneys licensed in both Illinois and Iowa. Contact VanderGinst Law for more information.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.