Slip and fall injuries

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by JCurtis, Jan 8, 2001.

  1. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Just had a report of a slip and fall injury at the hospital where I work. These lots have been plowed back ( except were cars have not moved, salted heavily, and our walks have been cleared and salted.

    Now I know alot of snow melted yesterday and the temps dropped during the night but I had a man salting icy spots early this am.

    Injured staff member is complaining, (broke her foot)
    I know accidents happen, but I can't have a crew here around the clock everyday just in the event that there
    is a freeze. We will never be able to totally eliminate or prevent melting/refreezing problems. so why can't people just be a little bit more cautious during the winter.

    If things were that bad over night, I am sure the security staff would have notified me. Any suggestions or recommendations?
  2. John Allin

    John Allin Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    If it's an employee, it should fall under workmans comp and therefore you cannot be sued (assuming you're responsible as the employee in charge).

    If you have accurate records that you have done what was "reasonable and prudent", you may be allright (if the slip and fall is from a visitor to the lot) - as long as you did what was reasonable and prudent given the situation. I know that leaves lots of room for interpretation, but that's why we/they have lawyers.....

    Good luck
  3. OP

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    John, this apparently happened last night as she was coming in, or this morning as she was leaving ( 11-7 shift)

    It is my contention, that the lots and walks had been cleared and salted during and after the storm on friday night.

    With the warmer weather that occurred Saturday and Sunday, I feel that our security staff who is here 24 hours around the clock should have notified me of treacherous conditions if they existed. After all I can't be here around the clock, nor can my staff.

    Would you have considered performing any salting/sanding after a thaw based on the temperature predictions or would you have just automatically sent a crew around to re-salt after a substantial melting?
  4. John Allin

    John Allin Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Well.... consider that we are in a "for profit" business, so after a thaw if the temps at night fall below freezing we go out and salt for safety reasons (and to generate revenue).

    Is there a written policy that the Security people have the right to call in troops to service the site ?? If not, there should be. And, if not - your department might be on the hook for "checking" the situation regularly.
  5. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Are they informing you of what happened, or asking you to accept responsibility for medical bills, etc?

    Either way, contact your insurance carrier asap and tell them what you know (not what you suppose happened, or guess could have happened). They will probably contact you again at a later date for more info, and if your ins co is worth anything, you should hear/be involved in this as little as possible.

    I would discuss none of this with anyone except your insurance carrier, refer all questions and discussions to them.

    You will not realize how important my advice is, until you fail to heed it.
  6. BRL

    BRL - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Ditto Bill.

    That's why you pay that premium. So that considered, I'm assuming you're really asking here how can this situation be dealt with in the future to avoid such a problem. I agree with John that you should meet with the Hospital Management & put in a policy where the 24 hour security people can monitor the situation for you. Management may tell you that that staff already has enough on their platter & that they want you to do it. Either way it needs to be clear who is responsible. In the second case, you will need to add to your contracts a charge for ice patrols, whether you spread it or not. This is a service you are providing and you should be compensated for it. Good luck.
  7. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan Veteran
    Messages: 704

    This happened to me last year. An Employee of a business at a mall I plow . Frist thing I did was call my insurance agent. They started a claim, send out a claims agent.
    First thing he asked me for was my plowing log. Photocopied it, and took a statement.
    Far as I know it died there.
    Once they knew that I had documentary proof that I plowed, salted and did everything I could to prevent the fall, they disallowed any claim.

  8. John Allin

    John Allin Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    All sound advice from all sides.
  9. GeoffD

    GeoffD Veteran
    Messages: 2,266


    I think JCurtis works at a Hospital as a maintmance supervisor if I read the thread correctly. Only than again, I have been wrong in the past and could be wrong again.

    Sounds like someone slipped because his crew didn't salt enough or fast enough. So I don't think he has any worried except for his boss giving him a little talk.

    To me is sounds like the Hospital will face a workers comp claim, at worst. Because their maintmance staff provided "unsafe" working condtions.

    I am just calling this one as I see it.

  10. John Allin

    John Allin Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I know JCurtis. You're right Geoff.
  11. OP

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Gentlemen, Thank you for your advice. It is all sound and appreciated.

    Geoff is correct, I am a supervisor or a maintenance department. The lots had been hevily salted after the storm on Friday. I had a crew at the complex on Saturday as well touching up any areas that needed attention. I am referring to a slip and fall that occurred either Sunday night prior to 11 pm or after 7 am Monday morning. there was considerable melting during the day sunday, and I was not notified of any treacherous conditions Sunday night so I assumed ( wrongfully I realize now ) that everything was fine.Security is aware that they should notify me of lot conditions. My maintenance sidewalk crew came in at 6:00 am to salt where needed as is procedure.

    I guess my frustration is that no matter how good of a job you do plowing snow and salting, there is undoubtedly someone who is either not paying attention to what they are doing, or running across the lot so the don't get cold or wet during a storm or take a shortcut over a pile of snow.

    I appreciate the advise and criticisms. My boss agreed with me that all that we could do was done. So I wasn't "talked" to.

    I have advised our contractor that I want him to provide an Ice Patrol and salt when ever there hads been a melting and refreezing.
  12. Dusty

    Dusty Member
    Messages: 82

    In Mass. the courts have held that you cannot be held responsible for a slip and fall. It is considered an act of G-d. Considering how liberal of a state that MA is, it is almost unconcievable that this could be, but the legislature has not seen fit yet to change it. If you do your best, then no one can ask any more of you.
  13. John Allin

    John Allin Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    PA courts are becoming more cognizant of the "reasonable and prudent" test too. Not quite as good as MA, but we're getting there. Other states are beginning to realize this too, as long as the attorney's are smart enough to use it as a wise defense. I work with lawyers in a lot of states, and it is always amazing to me just how ignorant they are of our business and industry - and how we operate. I've been on the witness stand (as an expert witness) and had a lawyer aske me a question that I knew for a fact would kill his case and then tried to dance around the answer so as not to hurt him (he was, after all, paying me) too much.