Illinois has just enacted “The Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act”.
This new law declares that any indemnity, hold harmless, or liability shifting provisions in snow removal contracts entered into after the effective date of the new law, August 25, 2016, are void and against public policy in Illinois. Basically, it is no longer possible for snow removal customers (Shopping centers, Home Owner’s Associations, Condominium Associations, other property owners, etc.) to shift to the snow removal contractor the liability for snow and ice related accidents and injuries arising out of the negligence of the property owner or their customers or members. Similarly, snow removal contractors can no longer contractually require their customers to assume the liability for and defend claims for accidents and injuries that are the fault of the snow removal contractor.
This change in the law is the result of a continuing effort on the part of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association to have all snow-industry states adopt their model legislation.
Proponents of the new legislation say that it will lower insurance rates, and increase the value of professional snow and ice management services, because property owners will no longer be able to pass their liability on to the contractor. They also claim that snow removal customers will not have contracts that reduce services essential to create safe conditions.
Snow removal contractors and property owners/managers throughout Illinois should seek legal counsel to be sure that their snow removal contracts for the coming winter season comply with this law.
Peter M. StormCooper, Storm & Piscopo