Black ice is a leading cause of accidents and injuries in the winter months. Created by light rainfall onto frozen surfaces or by freeze-thaw cycles, it is difficult to see and dangerous to travel across. It is especially dangerous in Chicago, where winter weather conditions and the proximity to Lake Michigan create ideal conditions for the formation of black ice.

Time of Day & Weather Changes Can Increase Black Ice Risk

Black ice typically forms in the early evening as the temperature cools and refreezes any ice that has thawed during the day. It also occurs in the morning or early afternoon after it rains and the temperature drops suddenly. These times are particularly dangerous for motorists and pedestrians as they go about their daily activities and head home from work.

Factors That Increase Risk

One of the leading causes of black ice formation is improper drainage. Unshoveled sidewalks, poorly maintained streets and clogged sewer lines can create ideal conditions for the formation of black ice. Other common factors that can lead to black ice formation are broken sewer lines and sprinkler systems.

In addition, low-light conditions can make it more difficult to see black ice. Property owners and city agencies are responsible for ensuring that public areas and roadways under their care are adequately illuminated during overcast weather and during evening hours of operation.

Premises Liability

Chicago property owners are responsible for snow and ice removal at their home or business. This includes sidewalks, parking lots, parking garages, and seating areas. Similarly, city agencies are responsible for maintaining city streets and municipal property. In Illinois, property owners or city agencies that do not adequately maintain their property or drainage systems can be liable for the personal injuries and property damage their neglect causes.

Pursuing Claims

A personal injury lawyer in Illinois can assist individuals who have suffered broken bones, concussions, lacerations, or other injuries caused by slip and falls or other accidents caused by black ice. Because black ice melts away quickly, one of the most important first steps injured parties should take is to collect video and photographic evidence showing the extent of the ice and any factors such as snow cover or poor drainage that led to its formation.

For more information about black ice in Illinois, contact personal injury lawyer Robert Smoler at 312-332-9800.