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Liability Question

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Cherokee, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Cherokee

    Cherokee Member
    Messages: 33

    If a client chooses to not salt - will the contractor be exposed to a lawsuit if there is a slip and fall....considering that the snow removal end was done correctly?
     
  2. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Depends on the contract. You will get sued, whether they release (dismiss) you or not will depend on the wording of the contract and how well you met it's (the contract) requirements.

    But regardless of contract if a slip and fall suit is filled you can bet the snow removal contractor will be named as a defendant. Snow removal contractors get sued on a regular basis. If you don't want the risk leave the plow in the garage. Why we preach insurance, you need someone to pay the legal bills.
     
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Basically, "Anyone can sue anyone at any time for anything". From there, it's up to the judge.
     
  4. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992


    Amen. But we keep seeing post about not getting sued, not going to happen in this business. We consist of those who have been sued and those waiting their turn:nod:
     
  5. Jbowe

    Jbowe Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Insurance

    I will admit that the first couple of years I did not have my own insurance. But I was plowing for a comany that subed to about 15 private truck drivers with thier own plows and we plowed under thier contracts so in that respect they were covering us. But it go my foot in the door and the proper experience to go out on my own. I would not think of sending my trucks out if they were not fully covered. Whe your in the middle of a storm and the way most people drive your a sitting target for sue crazy people. I can't count the number of times someone has done something that could have caused an accidnet if I was not being completely diligent and watching what I was doing. Insurance is the only way to go. It will be cheaper then being sued believe me.
     
  6. JR. Snowplow

    JR. Snowplow Junior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 5

    contract

    OK what the best way to word it in the contract, so you cover yourself.

    Thanks Brad
     
  7. Cherokee

    Cherokee Member
    Messages: 33

    limiting liability

    I guess what I meant to ask was....can the contract wording limit your insurance liability, i.e. in the case of a no salting situation...is our insurance carrier responsible for slip an falls where client opts to not want salting - given that you've fulfilled your end correctly? Can your contract wording protect you from loosing a lawsuit and increased insurance premiums in this case?

    Thanks
    Cherokee
     
  8. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    No. If it could, why would you need insurance?
     
  9. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    A contract defines the responsibilities of both parties it should be simple to understand and include such things as payment terms, insurance requirements, limits and scale of services, etc...

    Good records detail level and time of service provided.

    Both provide you protection when you get sued, they will help the lawyer get you dismissed from the suit if everyone agrees you provided due diligence.

    Insurance pays the lawyer mentioned above, or the award if you lose.

    The short answer is yes it will help define your liability but not lower the odds against law suits. Civil suits are a shot gun affair, everybody gets sued
     
  10. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    Liability Question?

    Well another Good Question NOT actually Answered-- just more Bla Bla BLA!--I*D be make SURE! I had a Written Contract for Commerical Customers--but--I Dono? any One? that has Written & Signed contracts for Residential Customers?--as Simple common scense Dictates All Plowers should have Liability Insurance--as YOU never know? when something? will Happen?? as the Truth in referance to Residential Customers?--Is Usually just a Phone call--& Info on where? they Live?-- nothing More! & possibly?? a Price Quote?--RESIDENTIAL written & Signed Contracts? I have never heard of such Bla Bla BLA! & I*M NOT attempting to Put any One Down just Telling It like It Really IS!--as I Dono? but I figure any One Asking a Laget Question? should Get a Laget Answer!--so in My Opinion--Written & Signed Contracts!--COMMERICAL YES!--Residentials NO! --OleTower--
     
  11. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    i would be real careful with contracts. seems like people tend to bring them up alot in posts and there are some things to consider. not that im saying dont use them just consider and contact a attorney who specializes in contract law.


    1. last i checked it was against the law to imdemnify a action. if you state "im not liable" in a contract it wont fly.
    2. most contract lawyers can find so many loopholes in a contract it will look like it someone took a paper punch too it.
    3. federal and state law overides anything you put in a contract. anything in a contract can be found unlawful in court if the judge feels it goes against better judgement or law.
    4. there can be fines imposed for illegal contracts.
    5. a contract may help make a client pay but if you violate your own contract at all (snow too deep, late, whatever,) they have a case NOT to pay you and hold you liable for damages EASIER..
    6. having your name on a contract takes away any chance you have of deniability and they can still say you were supposed to do something not in the contract.
    7. if they say "i didnt understand the contract" you might be in deep you know what.
    8. contracts restrict what you do. as well as what the customer can expect.
    9. there are laws on fair trade in commerce, there is contract law. most contracts made by novices can be tossed into the garbage for violating either or both.
    10. if they do violate the contract. what are you going to do? can you prove it? is it worth trying too? are you going to get in more trouble if you bring them to court and the judge sees your contract isn't legal or bs? id like to see someone try to enforce a ten day late penalty or a contract requiring payment in ten days. HAHA. :)
    11. if you had your contract checked over by your "family attorney". he was probably wrong with whatever he told you.
    12. laws vary state to state. if your contract was legal in florida it doesnt mean its legal in new york.



    just trying to make sure people are being careful.
     
  12. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    oh yeah. also might want to check and make sure your not REQUIIRED to have a contract. i know maine has a law requiring contractors doing remodeling/construction over three thousand dollars to have a state (basically written by the state) written contract.
    just not sure what laws might be out there in other states or if snow removal would apply. if your doing seasonals it would be worth checking into to make sure you meet any possible contract requirments, or requirements for a contract your state may have enacted. they come up with new laws everyday!



    just my opinion. like i said. dont want to see anyone in trouble! :)
     
  13. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546


    "Not actually answered"? I'd say "NO" is an answer. It's "Bla Bla BLA" because the same question has been asked before - obviously with the same answer. But this guy hasn't asked it before and I think he deserves a response rather than "Do a search" (although he could also do that). Realize that how things are done here in Maine is not necessarily how they're done in other states. You and I can do residentials with a phone call since we know most of our potential customers. But I doubt that's going to work too well in Boston or New York City.
     
  14. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992


    Contracts are just a set of rules everyone has agreed to. I think failing to have even a simple contract is foolish. With out paper guidelines you are more apt to wind up in court playing he said/she said then if there was a set of each parties responsibilities on paper, a copy of which is in both (parties) possession.

    I also agree that you should have trained experienced people write your contract. Should not be written by you or the neighbors kid who took a business law course in his freshman year in collage. I wrote the rough draft of mine to get all the points i felt required were enclosed, I took it to a lawyer (contracts) then had my insurance company review and approve it.

    It was invaluable 2 years ago when a notoriously cheap (US) maintenance company took over one property on the first of the year and wanted to renegotiate mid-contract. I said no, sighted the contract terms and conditions that require 60 days notice for either party to cancel the contract, then gave them the choice of play and pay or play no pay, we all go to court. They backed off, we finished the year then parted ways.

    In a way I was trapped by a contract, I had to do the work, the contract said so, but they had to pay, the contract said so. We could have executed the release clause but that requires 60 days notice and would have left them with no plow guy at the end of February, no one would pick it up on their terms at that point, so they played to the end of the season. Did I shot myself in the foot with those folks? Sure I did, but I don't want to play with them anyway.:cool:

    JMO
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2007
  15. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Ahhh, basher. You really didn't want to re-sign with US Maintenance? I know what you mean. I thought it would be kind of nice plowing under one of those until I got the umpteen page contract for a couple Rite Aids up here a few years ago. I read about 1/3 of the way through it before :dizzy: :gunsfiring: (trash can smilie).