With winter coming fast and furious here in Chicagoland, property managers and business owners hopefully have taken note of the new snow removal legislation for Illinois.

Here is a synopsis of the new ACT: Senate Bill 2138 which created the Snow Removal Service Liability Act:
“Provides that any provision in a snow plow and de-icing services contract that purports to indemnify or hold harmless a promisee from or against liability for loss or damage resulting from the negligence or omissions of the promisee is against the public policy of this State and is void and unenforceable. Effective immediately.”

The law was signed by Governor Rauner September 8th and with his signature made the Snow Removal Liability Act effective immediately.

Most snow removal contracts’ indemnification clause likely read as follows: “To the fullest extent permitted by law, you shall, at your own cost and expense, defend and indemnify (property owner) from any and all allegations directed at the indemnified party. To the fullest extent permitted by law, you shall indemnify and hold harmless the indemnified parties from any and all liabilities, obligations, claims, demands, settlements, and penalties, for any incidents arising out of based upon, or in connection with your performance.”plow_0

Translation: If anything went wrong, the snow contractor took the fall, even if the property owner/manager was at fault for an accident. Property owners’/managers’ contracts historically provided for them to be indemnified for all costs associated with a claim (including attorneys’ fees and indemnity), regardless of fault and the contractor would have no case to fight.

The new law positively impacts snow removal contractors who were accustomed to paying for losses even if they weren’t at fault. This new law may come as a surprise to many property owners/managers who transferred all losses to the contractor via the indemnification clause. The new law places the liability with the appropriate party. The bottom line is property owners/managers can no longer pass their liability on to the contractor or vice versa.

There are exceptions to the new law. Read further here.

Our thanks to Tovar Snow Professionals and Assurance Agency for information for this post.