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People that Sue

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by 4-Seasons, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. 4-Seasons

    4-Seasons Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 28

    Just got our first plow. How do you keep yourself safe from getting sued. If we plow a commercial property and salt it, how can someone sue us. Just seeing if anyone has been sued and any insight on it.
     
  2. JB1

    JB1 Senior Member
    Messages: 178




    do the best job, document everything and cross your fingers.




    oh yeah and make sure your insurance is paid.
     
  3. NorthernSvc's

    NorthernSvc's Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    they can sue you for whatever they want... point is to keep them from winning... either way expect to pay out atleast $5000 on average ( even if you win) just on attorneys fees... if you loose - god i hope you have good insurance - typical payout is around $550,000.
    they have to proove negligence - I.E you were hired to plow and salt the lotand you NEGLECTED to do so..., snow stopped at 8:00 they slip and fall at 9:00 because you still haven't plowed or salted.. chances are they will win...
     
  4. PPP

    PPP Member
    Messages: 94

    Keep a log book in your truck and write down everything you do and the time. Take pictures after every storm and when you go back to check things out. Most cell phones have cameras so its easy. Email them to yourself. If you have a Blackberry put the notes on your phone as they will be timestamped. Check you towns by-laws. They may have something on the books like all commercial lots need to be safe and passable with in 2 hours of the end of a snow event and 4 hours on residentials. Get to know the local laws. Like JB1 says do your best and in most cases that's all you can do.
     
  5. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    For malls & busy plazas, florescent warning signs describing "ice & snow may be present" is a good cautionary feature.

    Also, log everything you do from time-in to time out on plowing, salting, sidewalks ect...

    Timing is key too...
     
  6. Oxmow

    Oxmow Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    Plowed a bank years ago on a Saturday. Got a call about 2 months later from an attorney wanting to know how I wanted to pay for damages to a car wreck in the parking lot. Come to find out, a lady was in the ATM lane when another lady (no insurance) slid into her and hit the back of her car. Her Insurance company went after the bank since the lady that hit her had no ins. Bank handed them off to me because I was contracted to clear the lot. It rolls downhill right, and I was at the bottom. The wreck happened on Sunday the day after I cleared the lot.
    It turned out that the rest of the day was warm enough to melt the snow off the roof of the ATM building and run into the parking lot. It froze again that night into a sheet of Ice.
    Even though it was enough that I wasn't contracted to do any ice treatment, they didn't drop the suit until I told them that I had been payed for the job. They counted that as a job satisfactorily completed for the bank and oula they went back after the bank. Hmmm...maybe thats why they dropped me as a vendor!?!
     
  7. Oxmow

    Oxmow Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    The talk i've experienced for this season also is to preview properties and take lots of pictures! Also mini contract for call-ins to avoid damage claims after it's all melted.
     
  8. plowking15

    plowking15 Member
    Messages: 91

    My wife worked for a company last season,they plowed some condos and sanded the walkways and left sand pails for the condo tenants to sand themselves if needed later. The company no longer has this account,in the meantime somebody has filed a suit for slip and fall nine months later. I guess her boss is contacting a lawyer. Why would somebody wait so long? If they didn't sand the walkways with sand given to them,who is to blame? plowking
     
  9. 4-Seasons

    4-Seasons Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 28

    What is a mini contract? Saying that we would come back to salt after we plowed and salted already.
     
  10. 4-Seasons

    4-Seasons Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 28

    THank You everyone for your responses very helpful. Now i am starting to think and get the hang of it.
     
  11. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,101

    There's nothing to get the hang of, just have good insurance, I'm not talking home owners, I'm talking commercial liability. For me I carry a million dollars worth, that's the minimum any commercial property will require you to carry
     
  12. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    Put a hold harmless clause in your contract , shift the liability back to the property owner . 6 or 7 years ago someone fell on one of my lots and i was named in a lawsuit . First thing was the hold harmless , got me dropped from the suit . The intresting part was there was no snow or ice events within the previous 2 weeks , just rain . There was a depression in the asphalt , water sat and froze in 1 spot . I was still in court as a witness, I was asked by the prosicuting attorney , " why didnt I inspect the property and apply salt before this accident " My answer was rather simple , we would gladly inspect every property we plow morning , noon and night and bill them for that service , but unfortunatly the customers simply could not afford this , Oh by the way we plow the complex where your office is located , are you willing to pay $ 100.00 per trip plus salt if any 3 times a day 7 days a week all winter.
    The judge cracked a smile , The person suing lost . A slip and fall is very hard in Maryland they basically say there has to be extreme negligence
     
  13. Mdirrigation, as it has been said in many threads, and as was told to me by my attorney, you can have all the hold harmless, liability waivers, etc in the world in your contract and it will not prevent or stop you from potentially being named in a lawsuit. Whether they win damages from you in the suit or not, it is still a major PITA and waste of valuable time to be drug to court over it, and short of having good documentation and also adequate insurance in the event you are found liable, there is little if anything you can do to prevent that
     
  14. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    True , you can be sued any time for just about anything , but lawsuits are a game of numbers , and they go after the deepest pockets first , Problem is that there are holes in my pockets , all you get is the loose change in my shoes .
     
  15. Oxmow

    Oxmow Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    By mini-contract, i mean a liability waiver for damage for the grounds.
     
  16. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,101

    ExactlyThumbs Up !!!