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Snow Pile Liability

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by cold_and_tired, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    We had a long storm last week and I created some fairly large piles out of it. Specifically, one of my HOA's has a pile that is about 600 cubic yards. The height of the pile is between eight and twelve feet.

    I drove past it the other day and noticed that some of the neighborhood kids were playing on it and even built a little cave in it.

    You would think that the parents would be responsible for any injuries their child may sustain while playing on the pile but we all know how sue happy people are nowadays. Do I have any liabilities tied to that pile or would it all fall on the HOA?

    My insurance agent says that there is always a possibility for me to get sued if someone gets hurt but I am thinking that the snow belongs to the HOA therefore it is their responsibility.

    I'm definitely adding a clause to my contract about piles. I guess it's something I haven't given much thought to until now.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    There's a lawyer saying, sue everyone and let the courts figure out who's fault it is.
  3. 94chevy2500

    94chevy2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 102

    real good question there will be a clause for that in my contracts in the upcoming years thanks
  4. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    I had the police write up a report for kids sliding off piles close to roads.

    If was another contractor at the next property that had created the pile, the police were just off on the address because it was a shared entrance.
  5. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    I'm not say everyone just some are sue happy and looking for a payout. It only takes one, good point to address.
  6. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    It might be the HOA's snow, but who placed it exactly where it is.

    If something were to happen, I assume a shared liability with the best lawyers winning, and your insurance jacking up.

    Send them a written quote for relocation/removal. They deny, your liability is taken away, or at least severly reduced.
  7. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    Add the clause but you may need to put up some caution tape also (you just can't cover everything)
  8. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    Written estimate for moving the pile is being sent out tomorrow. Caution tape and some kind of "no trespassing" sign go up as well.
  9. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Put in a time responce required due to the nature of the potential liability - just use some nicer wording that does not sound like it is such a liability.

    And good, get the letter out asap - hand deliver if you can and document, CYA is important.
  10. woodchuck2

    woodchuck2 Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    Adding a clause to your contract is a good thought but i would not tape of or put any kind of a sign out to warn of danger. In this kind of scenario you are better off playing stupid. Putting tape or signs out just shows that you know that it is a danger and if something were to happen then you can be held negligent for not taking care of the danger properly.
  11. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    2 sides 2 it, realism and reality (all bullchit but true). on one side if you had no choice but to create that pile, then it is reasonable for you to have done so. Anyone would have had to of created it. standard practice. on the other hand, it could be argued that you created a hazzard.

    generally things don't go full term with law suits. settlements more often than not. that way everyone agrees to share blame just to end it before the unknown and messy path to the verdict.
    you're probably alright but that would make me think to. especially if there could be kids in the fort during a plow event, it has happened. it would be interesting to get your lawyer to look into some case law related to those events and then decide how to proceed.
    good luck,
  12. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Woodchuck2 is right. It is like trying to keep ants away from spilled sugar.

    Don't draw the attention.
  13. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    I just got off the phone with a friend of mine and he said the exact same thing. I'm going to call my insurance company again tomorrow as well as my lawyer.

    Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing but better safe than sorry. A few days from now and I won't have anything to worry about. It's been almost 70 degrees for the past two days.
  14. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I was facitious when I recommended the caution tape. I guess it didn't come through on the post.
  15. Greenstar lawn

    Greenstar lawn Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    Very interesting topic. I to noticed the kids making forts and such out of the piles in my HOA. I even had one lady tell me to make a pile in front of her house so the kids can play on it. I never really thought about it but now i will be putting it in my contract. Also when they make there igloos in one of the piles i always get worried when i am in there plowing that the kids could be in one of the piles as i stack more snow on it.
  16. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 862

    I have a clause about not being liable for damaging things hidden by snow...never thought if that included kids. I don't like kids anyway.
  17. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,143

    you must of hated yourself when you were little.
  18. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    sounds like more sarcasm
  19. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 862

    Quite the opposite actually, I've never loved anyone more than I love myself...Thumbs Up
  20. forbidden

    forbidden Senior Member
    Messages: 392

    ^^^^ he is off loving himself in the bathroom right now.

    You left that door wide open, I had to comment.

    How many of you think to check the pile for kids or snow caves / tunnels before you start to remove a pile?