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Who's been sued?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by EZSnow, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. EZSnow

    EZSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    Ok, we talk all the time about mitigating liability. This comes up in pre-treating, salting, trigger depths, contracts, and insurance, not to mention just about any other part of our business. I FULLY understand that lawyers are hungry, as are the general public, and we live in a society in which people are not willing to take responsibility for their own actions.

    *BUT*

    Who's actually been sued? What was the situation and how bad did it hurt you?

    just wondering...
    -Derek
     
  2. SLC1

    SLC1 Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    We have been sued a few times. For slip and falls, the first few times we were not prepared, we didnt have driver records and other important facts like temp. weather, ect. After that we have been fairly well prepared. In all the cases that we have been involved in they have taken years to get anywhere, and always the insurance company has provided the lawyer and handled everything, we have just had to go to the depostion, and give our side, In our cases we have been a co-defendant with the property owner so we have been dealing with their lawyers also. We have never seen a major increase in our rates, and we have been able to change insurance companies without any major problems. It has been a headache and sometimes a little upsetting but we have gotten through it with no problems. It is just part of doing business now a days. IT is just not that fun ti get a knock at the door and have it be a sheriff handing you a summons for court. But that is what we pay all that money for insurance for. Just My two cents

    www.schmidtlawncare.com
     
  3. NNJSnow

    NNJSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    My boss is being sued right now actually for a slip and fall at some quickie mart he does.
     
  4. ProSno

    ProSno Senior Member
    Messages: 257

    Two years ago a ups man tried suing me cause he jumped out of his truck in the middle of an ice storm and broke his leg. Are ya ready for this? he wanted over a million dollars! Withing the first 15 minutes of the case the judge had me take the stand and questioned me. Last thing he said was do you keep records? Most certainly I do! and I handed him my log. He looked at it for about a minute and said wow you keep accurate records, You betcha I do I told him. He then told the ups guy that I did everything I could and he should have been more careful during an Ice storm. Case closed he got nothing. I've learned one thing from that-Records records records keep them accurate.
     
  5. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I've had 2 attemps, both only got to the stage where I provided detailed driver and plowing records to my insurance company, who provided info to the claimants company, and the suits were dropped.:angel:

    Bill
     
  6. sno-mover

    sno-mover Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Just wondering what kind of records you guys keep as far how you keep track of them, how you log them.
     
  7. deluxeco

    deluxeco Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    Our drivers each keep a log that consists of:

    time dispatched
    time arrived at lot
    condition of lot & service performed
    conditions or situations out of the norm (semi parked in middle of lot etc..)
    amount of salt used and areas salted
    time in service

    the dispatcher also keps a redundant sheet with the same info and amount of snow fallen & summary of the snow event such as (rain to freezing rain to wet snow,then rapidly falling temps to about 15degrees with light blowing snow tapered after midnight)
     
  8. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    Basically the same, except one very important entry inspected, date and time, no action required. We also rate the results of the service preformed, instead of a check mark beside plowed, salted we enter an e excellent to p poor. We also have a box at the bottom for incidents i.e. hit curb, broke plow, backed over old lady in white Neon :eek: etc. The key word up here is "Due Diligence" if you can show that you did everything within normal guidelines to prevent the incident, then you can't be held responsible for it.

    Bill
     
  9. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    We had a few try,but again,when they saw the records,they dropped the case.

    The drivers\operators fill out everything on their route sheets,and myself and the foreman use small recorders or Pocket PC's to keep detailed notes on each site.It all gets downloaded at the end of each storm.

    Keep the records for a long time.One of the times they tried to sue us was almost two years later.I didn't even remember what happened that far back,and if I didn't have my records,I would have been screwed.

    One other thing I keep track of is the weather and site conditions even when it's not snowing.I jot down the conditions a few times a day,so your bases are covered if they try to claim they fell the day after a storm,or between storms.
     
  10. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    We were named as co-defendant once. fortunately I took digital pics within 1 hr of the incident. I showed that it was a backed-up gutter that caused the ice, not anything we did. Our name was removed from the suit. I never heard the results. document DOCUMENT ! Pics work well. :nod:
     
  11. Got Grass?

    Got Grass? Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Keeping accurate and detailed logs is the key...

    Insurance is a MUST, because god forbid the judge dosn't see things the way you do, or your drivers (or yourself) screw up.
    Things could get really messy, resulting in a judgment against you. I doubt any of us have a couple mil. $'s to write off as a learning experience.
     
  12. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    I'm kind of leery of that last bit--"no action required". That implies that you have assumed full responsibility for the condition of the property. Say there's a claim and they contend that there was an icy patch that you failed to treat. Now you're standing alone. *You* decided that there was no hazard, and unless you can convince the court that there was some act of God that caused that icy patch *after* you left the property, the court might find you at fault. (I'm not speaking from experience, but that's the way I specualte things could go.)

    Anybody have any experience with that scenario?
     
  13. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    I have been sued several times at my bar for
    assault and battery cases where a couple of
    drunk knuckleheads beat each other up.
    Like its my fault !!!!!!!!!!!!

    The insurance company no longer covers assault
    and battery claims......BUMMER
    I have been to court with $$$ lawyer. PIA, But
    never had to pay anybody anything........

    As far as slip and fall........I have had a few of those.
    Mostly old and infirm folks going into the resturant
    for coffee.......Makes me cring when I see them coming.
    Always tripping on the carpets, steps, etc...........
    Out and about in the worst weather too !
    The insurance company pays all of these cases !

    NOTE: Most of these folks WON'T sue...They only
    want what their insurance don't cover !

    But, The sadness of one of our senior friends
    getting a broken hip or severe injury slipping
    or falling and then ending up in the nursing home
    sure SUCKS !
    I know in a few years I will be them............geo
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2003