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Need some advice

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by FIREMAN Q, Dec 26, 2011.


    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242


    I will try to keep this short as possible.

    Last winter one of my guys was at a church we plow, shovel and salt. He was getting ready to start shoveling an entrywAy. As he stepped up he slipped on the ice and reached for their handrail and it completely collapsed. It was a concrete block type railing. I will dig up the pictures shortly. the pastor happened to be there and told him not to worry about it.

    A few days later I received a call from one of the trustees who is also my contact , wanting to know what we are going to do about it. The handrail is approx 10' long. Just to make thi gs easy I offered to give them $150.00 for materials. The trustee didn't like my answer so I was told to call the pastor. I spoke with Him very briefly and he was going to call me back.

    I never did get a call back until a few days ago I received a letter containing 2 quotes they obtained to have the handrail replaced $500 & 750. They are requesting a call back to discuss further.

    I have not yet returned the call.

    So my feeling is that they are responsible for maintaining proper handrails and they are lucky that my guy wasn't injured in the failure. I also feel my offer of $150 is more than enough to replace handrail with a wooden one. I shouldnt be expected to replace their faulty railing that was never installed correctly to begin with.

    Just looking for some advice. I don't really care if I keep this account however I don't want to end up in court either.

  2. grnstripes

    grnstripes Senior Member
    Messages: 237

    tell them to call theyer insurance company as a hand rail is there to grab ahold of to prevent a fall
    which it failed
    its theyer problem
    if a patron grabed it and it failed would the patron pay for it and the medical. no the churches insurance would pay for it and any medical
    ( I serve on our church trusties)
  3. rebelplow

    rebelplow Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    I agree with grnstripes. It's one thing if you back into the rail with your truck or bobcat and dent it or rip it out of the wall. It is another if you are actually using the railing for its intended purpose. They should consider themselves lucky that it was not an elderly parishioner that actually needs the handrail to balance and to navigate the steps safely! Tell them you are even. You won't file an insurance claim for your worker, and they don't charge you for the repair. Churches are always looking for freebies- and in this case they don't deserve it, because they failed to maintain their own property.
  4. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    #2 + #3 x 2

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    Well it is YOUR fault it was slippery that's why your guy was there he should have known it was slippery I think you should have to pay:laughing: JK What the heck is wrong with people:dizzy:

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    Thanks guys. I'm glad that it wasn't just me. I feel a little more confident in telling them I won't be paying for it. I will let ya know how I make out
  7. mpgall26

    mpgall26 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Holy crap. couldn't resist.
  8. EdNewman

    EdNewman Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    Went through exactly the same thing with one of my sites last year. I told them how lucky they were that my employees was not hurt. I offered to do the repair for a reasonable price and they approved it. Problem solved.
  9. perrysee

    perrysee Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    there insurance should pay to fix railing you didnt damage it by hitting it
  10. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Those trustees and the pastor need an azzholeectomy.They should be ashamed of themselves.I wonder if they would have tried charging a parishioner if the same thing happened.
  11. rcn971

    rcn971 Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Ahhhhh what you are all overlooking is that if your employee got hurt at the church while working it wouldn't go through the church's insurance policy at all. It would have to go through your workers comp policy. If you don't care about losing the account, refuse to pay for the repair and hope for the best. I personally wouldn't work for them after that anyway. If it was a parishioner then it would be on their insurance policy.
  12. elecblu

    elecblu Member
    Messages: 79

    You are more generous than I. I wouldn't even have offered the $150.
  13. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Either way it is up to the property owner to provide proper safety railings, had he been injured yes it would have gone to work comp and more than likely work comp would have contacted the churches insurance for them having faulty railings and worked out who was responsible.

    The issue is that the railing failed under expected use, had it failed through misuse it would fall to him to pay.
  14. MatthewG

    MatthewG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,400

    Let us know how it turns out

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    thanks for all the imput...i called them the other day and just recieved a call back. I read the letter they wrote to me again before calling. They are under the assumption that we plowed into the railing not that it failed during time of need. So with that said I was told they would call me back. still waiting for that call.

    I will update when I hear back.
  16. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Good luck with this, bro. No good deed goes unpunished, right?
  17. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I am missing something...wasn't the pastor there? how did this turn into the plow guy ran over it?
  18. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    That is why they do not want to pay... Also think about it, most churches do not have alot of money. Even if the railing was total junk and your guy did pull it down while falling and did not hit it with his truck, you are going to be blamed either way. If they did not take the $150 even after you explained to them that it was pulled down by someone grabbing it, maybe an extra $50 will sweeten the pot and you can save a customer, and do a good deed for a church... Its a tough situation. Pictures of the site would be very helpful in our advice.

    Good luck.
  19. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    It sounds to me like this is just one of those misunderstanding type situations. Despite #2's opinions, Churches are not out looking to profit off situations like this, they just want the railing fixed. From the Trustees point of view, unless he was told otherwise, he figures this was damage caused during snow removal operations. It doesn't say in the OP, but just because the pastor was there, doesn't mean he was witnessing what happened.

    We don't know what the exact words were between the employee and the Pastor, so we shouldn't speculate.

    Generally in a Church the pastor is the PR guy in a situation like this, and doesn't deal with the details like fixing the railing. Enter Trustee. It is his job to see the railing gets fixed. His information likely was that it was damaged when your guy was on site.

    It is human nature to then speculate that it was your guys fault unless proved otherwise - an insurance company (theirs or yours doesn't matter) will then go with that same assumption unless proved otherwise.

    They have just saved that step for you. So far no insurance company is involved (and shouldn't be over a $500 railing). So you can thank them for that.

    See what their response is. Again pictures are 1000 words on here. Are there any signs of damage to the railing that would have caused its failure? I would suspect that once they see what caused the failure, they won't want your money anyways.

    I would suggest you meet with the trustee on site and show him your pictures and show him that the railing isn't damaged and it was due to faulty installation. If you do this right, you won't lose them as a customer, and you won't pay for the railing.

    Don't play the "your lucky my guy wasn't hurt card", it will only escalate emotions and doesn't matter at this stage. Point is, he wasn't hurt, and thats what they hired you for (to deice) so they wouldn't be on the hook anyways.
  20. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    Well put Edge... I agree...