Falling ice from Chicago buildings can cause real injuries

Firm News | March 3, 2017

Tall buildings can help solve issues facing cities, like lack of space for expansion. By expanding vertically, more housing and businesses can exist on the same footprint of ground space. However, tall buildings can create issues as well as solve them. One of the problems posed by the skyscrapers and other tall buildings in Chicago is falling ice. During cold weather and precipitation, ice and snow develop and harden on these tall buildings. Then, during warmer days or windy days, the accumulated ice and snow breaks free and falls toward the street, damaging cars and injuring pedestrians.

Even if you live in the suburbs and commute to work, icicles can pose a serious threat. Given how this winter season has involved numerous thaws, there is real potential for injuries and property damage as a result of falling ice. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of falling ice, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. It’s possible that the building where the ice accumulated is responsible for these injuries via premises liability.

Falling ice can be fatal

There’s a reason many building owners put up scaffolding over their portion of sidewalk when it starts snowing. That scaffolding will prevent all but the largest and heaviest of ice dams and icicles from coming into contact with pedestrians. The city’s property managers have also taken steps to help protect pedestrians, by investing in bright yellow “falling ice” signs to warn about potentially higher-risk areas. Buildings often use these signs as a means of limiting liability, but failing to provide safe and clear sidewalks is a breach of their social contract.

Simply tacking up a sign warning about potential falling ice does not remove a property owner’s obligation to the people of the city to maintain safe premises. Snow fences or barriers are much better options for preventing injuries on a particular property. Removing the ice or snow or diverting its path as it falls is also a sound, but uncommon, practice. If you or someone you love has been hurt or fatally wounded by falling ice and snow, you deserve the peace of mind that comes from ensuring that your losses are covered by those responsible for the accident.

An attorney can help you after a falling ice incident

Speaking with a personal injury attorney won’t undo the damage that falling ice has caused. It won’t reverse your injuries or magically return the wages you lost while recovering. However, your attorney can help you determine your best way forward, including negotiating with the building’s insurance company or filing a civil lawsuit to recover your financial losses.