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Has Anyone Here Been Sued for a "Slip and Fall"

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Adam E., Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Adam E.

    Adam E. Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I'm just curious if you or any of your companies have had to get involved in one of these?
  2. carl b

    carl b PlowSite.com Addict
    from Ohio
    Messages: 1,330

    Keep good records .. ( this will help you win or lose )Pay your insurance .. who cares that's why we pay insurance they will pay them just to make them go away .

    As for "involved " I would never go against a fellow contractor
  3. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    Its a pretty regular occurrence in the business.

    Thats why you have insurance.
  4. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    three going right now... have never had them before, but expected it this year with the economy. Most are simply people trying to work the system for a few grand settlement.
  5. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    my ins agent questioned me about why i wanted more coverage and said "if they are going to sue they will sue for what your covered for". with that said i still raised my ins coverage. she also said they have few slip and falls and more auto accidents from snow piles at the end of drives blocking the view of oncoming traffic. just something to think about.
  6. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Have not had one yet. I fear the day when we do have one though. I was thinking of figuring a way to restructure the company so that the company that already owns all the equipement, property, all the real assets, leases it all to the corporation that we operate under. That way if something very serious happened where they would attempt to attack our companies assets, we wouldn't have any. We would just be leasing from another corporation. For example, if your leasing a front end loader from Volvo, and you get sued beyond your coverage, they couldn't take the loader from volvo since the corporation that is being sued doesn't even own it.... I'm not sure legalities, or if this idea would even work in this situation, but its just a thought I had.

    My grandfather did a similar thing in his manufactering business back in the day incase of unionization. If they unionized, he simply would not be able to afford to operate anymore. So then when he would be forced to close the doors, he wouldn't loose anything really since the company never really "owned" anything...
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  7. snowplowchick

    snowplowchick Senior Member
    Messages: 549

    Isn't that what everyone does anyway? I don't know who wants that kind of exposure with everything in one name. Like you say, it would only take one big lawsuit/claim to ruin everything. A contractor having a holding company(ies) and an operating company(ies) is commonplace.
  8. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    You should structure so that all of your equipment and shop is owned by you personally and then lease or rent back to your corp.
  9. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    This is a good idea, and it's being considered. One of our competitors already does it since one of his guys branched off and got a pretty good biz started, then one of his guys killed someone with a truck and skid in an accident -ENDED HIS BIZ.

    Just because someone brings a claim, it does not mean you will be sued. You and your customer need to have records that show:

    1. System of inspection
    2. Inspections performed.
    3. System of maintenance
    4. Maintenance performed.

    If you can show this, you're liability is reduced. If the "victim" was not wearing proper footwear for the conditions, they assume more fault. Document, document, document.

    Check you insurance company's website... many have a lot of good info on slip and falls.
  10. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I have always heard that these slip and fall cases are not often successful. Courts tend to side on the common wisdom of "its winter so its slippery, deal with it". Is this accurate?
  11. Navigator7

    Navigator7 Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I used run tugboats. Each tug was it's own corporation.
    The least expensive tug of the fleet could cause damage exceeding the value of the company.
    The way they worked it was liability was limited to the value of the equipment involved in whatever incident.

    I never saw it an instance where this practice actually protected the company... except a a rather flimsy lawsuit was filed against the business .... and was thrown out as the tug involved...it's own corporation, wasn't even listed.

    Corporate Veil?
  12. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I had one 3 years ago. There was a no travel advisory out for Northeast Mn. The store I plowed was the only large chain to stay open. It was an ice storm. I salted and scraped the lot while the store was still open. Someone from the southern part of the state was in town for a hockey tourn. He got out of his car and slipped in SLUSH-(his own words) twisted his ankle and latter required surgury on the foot. I sent my insurance co. copies of all my salt receipts as well as copies of the no travel advisory. I told them I would gladly go to court to defend myself, assuming that the guy would have to prove negligence on my part.
    Never heard another word about it from anyone. Then 2 years later I am checking insurance companies for better rates and during a loss run check, I find that my insurance company had paid the guy 5,000 to settle out of court. I called my insurance company and they said, they just decided it was cheaper to pay him than litigate. It didn't effect my rates, but the insurance is a MUST. The worse the economy gets, the more creative the sue-happy"s get...p.s..he said he saw me plowing slush when he parked.:dizzy:
  13. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    You are correct, they are seldom successful. The cost's come into play having to produce all of your documentation, depositions, etc, etc. Your insurance carrier will still throw money at it to make it go away. It is their call to do that, and they will.

    It's all part of the game if you want to play.

    As stated before, your documentation is extremely important.
  14. BigDave12768

    BigDave12768 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,446

    Most lawyers wont even try since its winter and you should expect some ice. So if you want to slip and fall do it when you walk into the store where the entrance is wet and slippery. Then sue away
  15. Cutter1

    Cutter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 245

    my insurance company just settled for me.....Lady got 50k for "an prior problem that flared up after a fall" Complete BS!!! Like they said, thats why we have insurance....I keep good records, even had pictures of her car in the way unabling us to clear in front of her door, didn't matter, she still got it, insurance company would rather settle and then raise my premiums. Gotta love the world. we bust our ass and someone makes 50 grand falling. LOVE IT!!!!!
  16. snowplowchick

    snowplowchick Senior Member
    Messages: 549

    Still dealing with a persistent one from last year. I swear they already have a dollar amount in mind, and have the money spent in their head already to keep going with a lawyer. Insurance co. is not planning on paying out, just biding their time to make it go away. Haven't heard from her or her lawyer in a few months, keeping fingers crossed.

    "The laces in my winter boots were broken so I put my new shoes on."
    " I saw it was very slippery so I was walking carefully." :rolleyes:
  17. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    If ya see what people wear for footwear in the winter, especially those milder winter days, its ludicrous if they fall that they sue us
  18. TurfSolutionsMN

    TurfSolutionsMN Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 302

    I had a slip & fall heppen in Dec., had to go to a big insurance meeting with everyone being recorded. It was at a appartment complex. The lady heppened to fall in between the parked cars. I told the owners of the appt. and the maintenance man, that we would come plow the parking lot and then return the next morning to do where the cars are parked (if they moved them) they both agreed with that. After few storms we would go back the following morning and maybe 2 of 10 cars would be moved. I called the owners and said that we agreed that everyone would move there cars by the next morning. She told me that they try, but they cant force them to move their car. I was having a hard time beleiving that but whatever. Now I guess they are learning the hard way because they are being sued right now. I told them I wasn't going to be responsable if they wern't moving their cars.
  19. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    I would not say they are seldom successful. It all depends were you live. In IL lots of success with BS law suites. Our state and city is run by crooked lawyer types, and they make big money on frivolous law suites. ALL the largest law firms in the country have offices here. Most insurance companys now throw money at the situation to make it go away.
    It will affect your rating, and you have NO say in the matter.
    States like Maine dont have enough of the STUPID liberal PC type morons, to fill and sit on jury's that pay out HUGE settlements, to people who take no responsibility for there actions.
    Stupid, non responsible actions pays well in many states, and if your ILLEGAL or black you got made.....
  20. PA-plow-at-home

    PA-plow-at-home Member
    Messages: 59

    This is not necessarily correct. It depends on the State. Most States have well-developed caselaw on snow/ice fall-downs, and in some States a plaintiff can recover much more easily than in other States. In some States its simply a matter of meeting certain elements.

    This is correct. And thats another reason why the idea that the plaintiff fall-down cases are "seldom successful" is not necessarily true. Its certainly common that the fall-down cases don't settle without a lawsuit being filed (although it does occur), but as a fall-down case gets closer to trial, there is a greater likelihood that the case will settle because the defendant's insurance company will offer money.

    Yes and No. It can be helpful, or might not be. When you are the target, you are seen to have a motive to be possibly untruthful because you're trying to defend yourself. If the plaintiff has a witness that is seemingly an unrelated and unbiased "independent" witness who can say something that is contrary to what your "documentation" shows, then your documentation might not be so helpful. By the way, when I say "witness", that means anybody who can testify to things they saw or know about, etc; it does not have to mean an eyewitness to events.