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Liability Questions

Discussion in 'Snow Management Safety & Training' started by darwin77, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. darwin77

    darwin77 Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 5

    FNG(fairly new guy) here. I have ten years of professional snow and ice removal experience.

    Three years ago I began doing business with a apartment management company. This company has approximately 500 units, half of which I am responsible for the snow removal. This year I accepted a few additional buildings as part of the account.

    One of the new buildings on the list is a nine unit apartment building with a fifteen car parking lot and thirty five feet of walkway four feet wide(not a huge deal I thought). A couple of days after the second storm of the season(four inches of light powder that came in on very light winds) I get a call from a very upset property manager. He'd like to meet in person at the building. When I arrive, the parking lot and walkways are covered in ice(an inch thick in spots). This is definitely not the condition I left the place in. The property manager informs me of a slip and fall that resulted in a fractured arm. He wants answers.

    I spent a couple of hours cleaning the place up and trying to determine exactly how this could've happened. It turns out the building has a twelve pitch slate roof that will temporarily hold snow that comes in on light winds. The building is poorly insulated, so twenty-four(give or take) hours after the storm the snow avalanches off the roof onto the parking lot and walkways creating a slip and fall hazard.

    If you've read this far, thank you. My questions are...Could I be held liable for the fractured arm? As a professional, should I have expected the slate roof to create the hazardous condition? How would you handle this?

    P.S. I was contacted by an insurance adjuster(working on behalf of the manangement company) requesting my maintainence logs for the property, to whom I haven't responded(yet). Your thoughtful responses are greatly appreciated.:salute:
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You didn't take pixs did you?I hope you talked to your agent and told him where the snow came from. Far as I'm concerned it is the maintenance dept fault.
     
  3. darwin77

    darwin77 Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 5

    I should have a couple more opportunities to take video of snow sliding off the roof long after the lot has been cleared. That feels like a catch 22 though because it proves that I am aware the problem exists.
     
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You are aware of the problem ,and I'm going to assume the manager is to. Sounds like a push off to me.I would still take a few pixs and send a certified letter to them with the problems of the snow on the roof and what happens. if it is not corrected then if it happens again you have proof you made them aware of it. I had a bank where the gutters emptied into the drive thu ,so if it was frozen cars could slide and hit the building .So I sent info on this problem and if something happened they couldn't blame me for them not fixing the problem
     
  5. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    In short, you MAY be liable. This is one that will be battled out between your ins co, your buildings ins co, and the "victim's" ins co. It will start with between the building and the victim, then the building will blame you etc. Of course, NH being a free state, your laws may differ wildly there than MA, and people may actually have to be responsible for their own ability to walk on f---ing snow and ice there..