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Are Property Owners Liable for Fall Injuries Caused by Leaves?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Are Property Owners Liable for Fall Injuries Caused by Leaves?Many people love autumn in part because of the changing colors of the falling leaves. Leaves are usually not an obstacle for walkers but can sometimes be responsible for slip, trip, and fall injuries. Wet leaves can be slick, and a layer of dry leaves may hide obstacles or wet surfaces. When it comes to personal injury compensation, fall injuries are usually a premises liability issue. Whether you receive compensation from a property owner or their insurer depends on whether the property owner had a duty to protect you in the situation leading to your injury.

Clearing Leaves

There is an Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act that covers premises liability when someone is injured due to winter accumulations on a property. There is not an equivalent act for leaves. If the same principles apply to leaves as snow, then property owners are not required to clear leaves from walkways on their property. If they do clear the leaves, they are responsible for doing so in a way that does not create a hazard for pedestrians.

If a court applies the Illinois Premises Liability Act, property owners may have a greater obligation to clear leaves from their property. The act states that property owners must make a reasonable effort to protect people from or warn people about hazards on their property. If the property owner had a reasonable amount of time to clear the leaves from public walkways near their property, they may be liable if those leaves became wet and created a slipping hazard due to their negligence. Liability would be more certain if a property owner left an object, such as a rake, hidden under a pile of leaves on the sidewalk.

Determining Liability

As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you have the burden of proving why the property owner is legally liable for your injury. There are several questions you should answer to determine whether your case is likely to be successful:

  • Did you fall in an area meant for public travel, such as a sidewalk?;
  • Did the property owner move the leaves onto a public walkway?;
  • Could you have reasonably noticed or anticipated the hazard?;
  • Does the local municipality have an ordinance regarding leaf removal?;
  • How long had the leaves been on the ground?; and
  • Were you trespassing on the property?

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Falls can cause serious injuries, such as bone fractures and concussions. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you obtain compensation if the property owner was liable for your fall. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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