Publisher's Opinion-

February 2018 Edition
Slip & Slide February

When you hear the word February, most people think of cold – very cold. This February is going to make us think of cold and snow – lots of snow! As a matter of fact, we set a record for eight consecutive days of snow which ties two other years. This has only happened in 1902 and in 2009.
In suburban Lemont where our office is located, our snow level is close to 20 inches total. The suburbs and Chicago were also hit hard. This would seem to be a good time to remind building owners and managers of the Boy Scout Motto: Be prepared.
While many building managers are prepared, many were not. Buildings that were not prepared open doors to liability and poor press should a patron fall and get injuried.
There are various statutes as to the responsibility of property owners related to snow and ice removal. On one hand, owners are expected to maintain a safe and secure environment for employees and clients. One slip and you could spend a lot of time in court and take a hit on your reputation. That retainer offered by the snow removal contractor would suddenly look quite reasonable.
On the other hand, snow is considered an act of GOD or a natural phenomenon, which precludes a lot of injury liability. Illinois law protects property owners in that they are not responsible for the natural accumulation of snow or ice. This sounds like a twist to the old saying, “buyer beware.”
There are many factors that could hold an owner liable such as an unnatural accumulation of ice, sidewalk defects causing ice buildup, or a leasing contract in which the owner commited to snow removal that wasn’t completed.
Either way you look at it, our society often thinks of lawsuits as a first option. The greatest protection building owners have is preventive maintenence. Preventing a serious injury prevents serious litigation.
We are now working on our March Commercial Issue / General Contractors. We will see you then.

by Roger Krieg
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