Can I Shovel?

Having just come through the blizzard of 2011 it was not difficult to see the snow removal efforts made by many citizens. Illinois’s Natural Accumulation Rule & the Snow and Ice Renewal Act of 2005 states that the natural accumulations of snow and ice should give property owners comfort knowing that they can shovel without the worry of a lawsuit. However if there is a defect on your property such as a cracked rainspout creating an ice skating rink in front of your property, you could be seen as liable if someone falls and injures themselves.

Even though the Removal Act of 2005 provides an affirmative defense if a person falls after you shoveled or plowed your sidewalk, it is important that you take the best precautions that you can in order to assure that no one falls while on your property.

The City of Chicago does have ordinances that require property owners to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their property. The combination of the municipal and state laws make it clear that as property owners we should clear snow and ice with the thought that a property owner should not be held accountable for having done his/her civic duty in shoveling or salting. Keeping your property safe is a common courtesy as a good neighbor, and could cut your risk of someone falling on your property.