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Hit a sign, should I pay?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BRIMOW525, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    Went to a gas station friday morning about 6:30. It was open and had not been plowed out yet. 6" on the ground and more coming, I say to the attendant " you guys need to plow this out" the guy says," Aw f this place. The owner has a plow and he'll plow it out when its done snowing" I laughed and pumped my gas. went to leave the parking lot and truck started slideing, (I was NOT hotdogging it at all!!) Slide into the curb and broke a lighted sign for the gas station. I'm pissed and the attendant comes running out and says "gimme your insurance info" I give it and the whole time I'm thinking, u XXXXX, I'm going to fight this, your open for business and your not plowed, I'm going to call the insurance co. today and find out what to do. I have pics but camera is in the other truck. With pics u can see it better. Thanks guys.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2003
  2. Mr_Roboto

    Mr_Roboto Member
    Messages: 63

    That's what the gas station has insurance for. You were a paying customer, I could see you paying if you were plowing the lot and damaged something. Look at it this way, if it was the little old lady who slid in the lot, the gas station would be paying for the sign and the damage to her car, since the lot wasn't plowed.
     
  3. jkkalbers

    jkkalbers Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    Is there a law that says when a lot needs to be plowed?
     
  4. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,535

    Might have to go on your insurance too.....just because you damaged something.
    Their insurance will be involved to, but I think you should look into it... 6" on a lot that houses a business, the bus is open and still not plowed.....that wouldn't happen around here. By 2" every one is plowing.

    You sais the owner plows it, he/she sounds lazy. Would you leave your business open with that much snow on your lot??? I would call that irresponsibility, and your insuracne co. might too.

    Also, not to be a pain, but I would tell the owner what his/her employee said regarding the station....would sour me a bit.....does it sound like he cares about your business???? I would be mad if that were my employee or should I say ex-employee?
     
  5. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    If/when you have to send the claim in, include a letter explaining what happened along with a request that you speak to the adjuster prior to the adjuster addressing the claim. You'll be amazed at how co-operative the adjuster will be..... you're on the same side.
     
  6. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    BRIMOW525

    I'm not sure how your State does Ins. but it should be variable comp. as in both will be at fault. Like 60% his fault & 40% yours, make sure you tell the adjuster the whole story ;) as the more they know the better. Good luck :)

    PS: My wife is a Sub.Adjuster (for 20+ yrs.) for a very large Ins.Co., she handles claims like this everyday.
     
  7. OffRoadPlow

    OffRoadPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    You file for damages to your vehicle and plow, thats what you do. Claim that there were unsafe conditions at the business and that you are holding them responsible. You made them aware of the condition when you spoke to them, they disregarded your warning, and something happened. It's just like a slip and fall, they give it to us, now it's your turn to give it back. :D oh, and tell them your neck is hurting too... Watch them squirm...
     
  8. Grshppr

    Grshppr Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    I wouldn't pay it. I agree with the other guys. You made them aware, and they disregarded it. If you were flying out of the lot, and pulled an e-brake and slid into the sign on purpose, well then you might have to pay. :D
     
  9. fordman

    fordman Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    :D LOL, good idea.

    BRIMOW525 you should definitely fight this considering the circumstances.
     
  10. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    I think that you are not responsible for the damages that was caused. The gas station is resonsible to keep their site clear and safe. With 6" of snow on their site, they should know better than that. As a result, you slid and hit their property. I don't think that it is your fault. It is not right for you to pay for something that you did not cause on purpose. You warned them, they ignored it. They should pay for their damages and also the damage to your plow and truck, if any, which I hope not.
     
  11. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    as long as you werent going too fast, id say its not your fault. im not sure how it will turn out. we had some idiot come flying into my dads station last year, and slid on the snow and sheared a pump right off the island. he got the $15,000 bill. although, we had plowed it already, and it was snowing hard. if there was 6 inches and it was slippery, i dont see you getting tagged. if you were hotdoggin, id understand.
     
  12. toalpi

    toalpi Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 10

    I can see the headline now, "Professional snow plow operator smashes into sign, claims six inches, "To much snow"". ... Only you know all of the details, unless the security camera caught it. Tony
     
  13. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom Member
    Messages: 82

    Although I sympathize I think you are the one at fault. You saw the snow and you knew it was a hazard and you decided to go to the gas station anyway. You drove the truck in hazardus conditions. You could have prevented the accident. We live in a country where it snows. LIVE WITH IT AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS I am tired of everyone trying to blame someone else for things that happen.
     
  14. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    When the kid came out you should of been asking for his insurance co. Be the same thing that if some came on your property and feel you would pay smae thing here you slid I would of not given him any info > I bet the thing was plowed real quick afer that .:)
     
  15. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    I tend to aggree with Dan on this one. It is not fun when you hit something, never the less, you hit it.

    Weather conditions should not be used as an excuse for fault. If this same thing happened on a city street, whould you be asking the same question?

    Maybee, the insurance adjuster will review both sides of story, as JAA mentioned.

    Good luck!

    Chuck B.
     
  16. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    If the shoe was on the other foot, you wouldnt want to pay either. The fact is you did hit the sign, and you are liable. I know it sucks to hit something, but that is why we have insurance. I often use this reasoning with people who may slide off a condo road or business access road. the operator has to judge the conditions and act accordingly. Just suck it up, it happens to all of us.
    In fact on Sat afternoon, I was slushing a lot off, and a car pulled right in back of me as I was plowing, I didnt hit them, but it was close. If I had hit them, even tho I would have felt like, " hey dummy how could you miss me plowing, and why did pull up right behind me" I still would have been at fault.
    Dino
     
  17. HerkFE

    HerkFE Member
    Messages: 92

    Hmmm....to pay or not to pay, that is the question.

    From a legal standpoint I think that you as "the customer" would not be liable because it would be argued that the owner/operator of the station was negligent because they failed to take appropriate measures to clear the hazard (snow). Just because you operate a plowing business is no reason to assume their liability when you were there as a customer (you did buy gas, right?). Would you pay if someone right after you hit the sign? Why not, you were a professional...see where this is going? The owner of the station is responible to keep it clear, however he goes about it is another story. By the way...did you get pictures of the snow on the lot? Gotta love those handy cameras, can make a big difference when it comes down to he said/he said.

    As for accepting responsibility, sure, from a moral standpoint you could accept it, pay the bill and go on with life. But just think, you would be taking a job or two away from some poor insurance adjuster and then if this whole "responibility" thing catches on the insurance company lawyers would go out of business, etc etc etc. Would you want to be responsible for the destruction of our wonderful insurance industry?

    Either way, once it hits your insurance company, they will of course, find some way to raise your rates, be sure of that.

    Good luck!!!

    :p

    Pete
     
  18. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    "From a legal standpoint I think that you as "the customer" would not be liable because it would be argued that the owner/operator of the station was negligent because they failed to take appropriate measures to clear the hazard (snow). Just because you operate a plowing business is no reason to assume their liability when you were there as a customer (you did buy gas, right?). Would you pay if someone right after you hit the sign? Why not, you were a professional...see where this is going? The owner of the station is responible to keep it clear, however he goes about it is another story. By the way...did you get pictures of the snow on the lot? Gotta love those handy cameras, can make a big difference when it comes down to he said/he said."

    HerkFE

    I think you are off track in your thinking. Snow is an act of God/mother nature! The owner does not have to plow his/her lot by law. Anything that happens in that lot, due to the weather and or conditions, is not the fault of the owner. However, once the lot is cleared/plowed, now liability has been assumed by either the plowing contractor and or the owner.

    So if the lot was plowed and Brimow525 hit the sign under these conditions. He could sue the plowing contractor/owner for not servicing the lot properly, due to slippery conditions.

    Chuck B.
     
  19. HerkFE

    HerkFE Member
    Messages: 92

    Well, Snoworks I guess that we should agree to disagree...
    I might agree with you if his station was not open. But since he was open for business he assumes the liability for the hazard. Had the station been closed it may certainly be a different legal question. And although there may not be a law requiring a lot to be plowed, that is not the issue. The issue is one of negligence. Was the owner negligent for allowing the build-up of snow to occur on an area he could reasonably assume people would be walking and driving because he was open? I think he was. Suits like this are civil in nature not criminal. Civil suits are only subject to "a preponderance of the evidence" and a "reasonable man" type judgment, not "beyond a reasonable doubt" type judgment.

    Also, if it were that cut and dry why do we all carry insurance and get waivers for salting etc if it can all just chalked up to "an act of God"?

    I can only speak from my personal experiences. As my family has owned several restaurants and hotels it has been our experience that the owner of the business is responsible to keep their lot free from hazards. We have been on the receiving end of a "slip and fall" or two and although it may be an act of god, the way liability laws regard snowfall and accidents is quite different from say a hurricane and its damage. While I am certain that lawyers could (an would love to for a fee) argue either side of this, it often comes down to how bad (read: how much $$$ you are willing to fight it with) you want to win. Remember OJ? We can go back and forth but in the end it is what either side will agree to as reasonable compensation for damage and if it is easier (and less expensive) to just pay it and be done or fight it. Why do you think there are so many out of court "sealed" settlements by companies? It's not that the company is necessarily wrong, but it is sometimes cheaper to pay off a claim that fight it.

    Why do people sue companies after they sign a release saying they accept all dangers and agree to hold the guys harmless no matter what happens....??? Because lawyers love money!

    I've also done some study of law study in school and it is by far the most frustrating subject I have ever, ever been exposed to. I hated it... :realmad:

    But, in the end, it may be worth it for BRIMOW525 (depending on the damage and we don't now how much that is) to consult his own lawyer for "proper" legal counsel. Remember, the longer two parties argue...the richer their lawyers get!!!

    Just my 2 cents....
    :waving:

    Good luck BRIMOW525!!!

    -Pete
     
  20. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    If i hit that sign,I wouldnt fight it,just pay it . I wouldnt have gotten gas there more than likely,but you may not have a choice as to where you get it.There are always a few staions open where I live,so you can pick and choose.As a professional snow plow contractor,id be real embarrassed to post this here.:eek: .We all make mistakes,its how we deal with them that sets us apart.I was raised with the beliefs that you are accountable for your actions.