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Someone Fell and I'm Very Worried

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Gatewayuser, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    I have a question, I plow at a school and tonight I heard on my fire pager someone(an adult) fell and got a head injury. Now keep in mind I do the snow plowing only NO salting because thats what they wanted, they said they would do it( and thats what I said in the bid also). So now I'm worried am I some how liable? And by the way they didnt even salt, so I think this would be a perfect time to offer salting service to them. Thanks
  2. vipereng2

    vipereng2 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boy :eek: :angel:
  3. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    what he said !!!
  4. Winter Land Man

    Winter Land Man Senior Member
    Messages: 723

    I doubt you are responsible. It's a government owned property... usually whoever owns the property is the one responsible. I see people fall on ice that has been sanded and salted all the time.. happens to me once in a while. Nothing you can do about it.

    More than likely it happened on a walk way. Who takes care of the walk ways there?

    And it's their fault if they didn't want salt. I'd definetely offer it to them and recommend it.
  5. DJC

    DJC Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    This is why you have insurance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:nod:
  6. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    No it was in the parking lot and its a private school.

    Yes this is why I have a million dollar snow, lawn and landscaping policy I even have million dollar commercial policies on both of my trucks because you never can be to carefull.
  7. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    All I can offer is what my insurance people told me.

    I have a million dollars in liability insurance that covers me for property damage I might cause in the course of plowing. They told me that as long as I don't get out of the truck and I just plow, I don't need injury liability. But, once you get out and shovel, or if you use your truck to either salt or sand, you should carry the injury liability.

    This is another issue that's been long discussed on PlowSite. For me, if I could afford the injury liability also, I'd probably get it just to be safe, but I can't so I don't. Now, there are guys on here who will preach fire and brimstone about insurance and how you have to have it or you're screwed, only low-balllers don't carry insurance, yada, yada, yada.

    That being said, let's be realistic here. I just started subbing for a guy who owns a good sized construction company and has been contracting snow removal for parking lots of everything from hospitals to malls for over 12 years. In all that time, and in all those different lots, he has never been sued once for a slip/fall injury. Good luck? The odds in favor? I don't know, but he's been lucky for sure.

    Now, take that to what you do. We all know anyone can be sued by anyone, anytime for anything. The thing everyone seems to forget is that they have to WIN. If you did your plow job in the usual way, then I'd say you'll end up ok here. Think about it, if all you did was plow, how in hell is any judge going to say you're at fault because someone fell? You were not doing or responsible for salt or sand, which needs to be done on top of plowing, realistically, in order for public areas to be truly as safely cleaned up as they can be.

    Insurance is a TOOL, that's why it comes in so many forms and prices. It's sold to suit the needs of the buyer. You don't have to buy every tool in the shop to be a good mechanic, so I don't think you have to buy every bit of insurance there is for plowing to be a good snow removal contractor. You buy what you need for the amount and type of plowing you do, based on what your insurance company tells you.

    One last little tip from my lawyer, you can always put a nice little disclaimer on your invoices and have every one of your customers sign it. As long as it's properly worded by a lawyer, it covers you and it's FREE. Think about it and good luck. You'll be fine.:nod:

    MIAWPUKEK Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    People Fall, Get Over It!!!

    Jeez, everybody falls...who cares!? I mean, it's too bad he got a head injury, but accidents happen. Besides, both you and the school had an understanding....they didn't want you to salt it. So it's their responsibility, and if they didn't do it, then they should be the ones worried about getting sued.

    Besides, do people really sue for falling on ice down your way??????
  9. CRJCaptain

    CRJCaptain Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Very well said...
  10. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Don't count your lucky starts yet. Lawsuits typically draw in anyone associated with an incident - lawyers will use the shotgun approach in an attempt to find out where the money is and isn't. You would most likely get named in the action, and others, such as your mechanic, could also be named. youdon't know, at the time a suit is filed, the approach that they are going to take.

    Ofcourse, it would then be up to you or your insurance company to dispute your involvement with the goal of having you released from the action.
  11. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    Yes here in the states we are a very sue-happy nation... I refer you to the famous "McDonald's-old-lady-hot-coffee" incident many many years ago. A lady goes through the drivethrough at Mickey D's and gets a cup of coffee. Spills it in her car and consults a lawyer who advises her to sue Mickey D's for said cup of hot coffee. She wins the lawsuit and everyone is on a sueing spree becuase now they see how easy it is to get rich quick via a lawsuit. Now, have you ever seen a coffee cup that did not say "caution, contents hot" ? have you ever ordered a coffee, expecting it to be anything less than hot? OF COURSE NOT! So, what reasonable judge and jury would convict McD's of serving hot coffee at fault here? The kind that our nation now houses... its a sad affair over here these days and I fail to see how we are the better country. We are proud, yes, but of what? What else do we have that makes us any better than any other country? We have alot of things better, but our laws get broken, bent and twisted by lawyers, the constitution itself gets violated and ignored, and on and on...... we got criminals running the courts and the political scenes.

    Yes, people sue over falling on ice down here!!!! Sadly enough, us plowers have to be fearful of a small fall even if there is no apparent injury at first, a "clever" "victim" may decide to develop a bodily injury that they didn't notice at first, because they decided they can sue if they claim injury, and just about every lawyer can make it so they win the case no matter how little evidence or how stupid the case is...
  12. oatka

    oatka Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Maybe I just don't understand

    i don't plow, heck, i don't work at all right now, but having given much thought to snow plowing and lawn mowing i don't see how it's the plowers fault if someone falls, slips, trips or spill hot coffe on themselves while standing on your freshly plowed property.

    if i ask a guy to come and remove a tree from my yard and all i want is the tree cut 12 inches from the ground and i tell him to leave the stump, is it his fault when i trip on a root and pound my head on the remaining stump? no way.

    why do poeple, even plowers, think they are liable for people slipping and falling. you come in a do a job that is set up by the owner of the property, if your job is done, you shouldn't be held responsible.

    i used to fix computers for a large company and often we had people say "Joe was down here yesterday doing blah blah blah, and i think he broke it." people just want to blame the last person who touched it. same with plowing, "oh, the plow guy moved the snow and now i fell. he must have some money we can take."

    maybe i'm wrong, but come on, it's rediculous that someone who plows the snow responsibly should be at fault when someone falls. it's almost as wrong that plowers think they should be at fault too.

    just my opinion.
  13. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    I agree, oatka, but logic doesn't matter in today's society. Its all about what we can get away with... :dizzy: :eek:

    And no, if someone falls where I have done my best to clean up, I don't feel too bad or responsible. Its their fault for "not testing their footing before placing all their weight on that foot" haha... another technicality what do you know? LOL... j/k... I really don't think its right to shove blame on down the line as people do, but we just have to make sure that we are protected as best we can, legally and otherwise... just do a good job make sure you left the job clean and safe as possible and maintain good insurance coverage. not much else you can do. right or wrong you gotta live with the conditions that exist.
  14. VAhighwayman

    VAhighwayman Senior Member
    Messages: 155

    If you have it on your bid that you only do the plowing and no salt or sanding and the bid is signed by them...I really don't see where you are liable..It seems to be neglect on their part for not salting "their" ice patches.
  15. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    That last statement you made is what counts here. So long as you did your job properly, you should not be held liable. Unfortunately theres a bunch of ambulance chasing lawyers advertising on billboards, the radio, in the newspapers and on television who will try to prove things otherwise in court. These "injury attorneys" tell potential clients how much money they have made for their clients, like million dollar settlements and such. This is where a properly worded agreement and a log book entry are really going to help. It is up to YOU and YOU alone to prove you did your job "According to accepted and practiced industry standards." Yes it's winter, yes it snows, yes there is ice, yes ice is slippery, but if someone is hurt they (ambulance chasers) want to attempt to prove someone else is at fault.

    Gatewayuser it sounds like you have your a** covered with the agreement. Hopefully the injured party is the type that accepts the whole "Yes it's winter" theory. Best of luck on this one :salute: ... Ken
  16. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Thanks for all the replies!
  17. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    What THEY said!!
  18. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    A disclaimer is only as good as the paper it's on, and you're lucky if you can still wipe your arse with it. Me personally...I'd rather be safe than sorry. JMO
  19. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    How do you figure it's Government owned?
  20. somm

    somm Senior Member
    Messages: 200

    In the USA -a million people slip and fall every year.

    Of this annual amount, 300,000 suffer permanent or long-term disabilities.

    Of this annual amount, 12,000 die as a result.

    Insurance by-itself won't save your business from serious liability - liability that can come back at your business two years later, after the fact, and usually after all the original staff of the company that signed your contract that year, are no longer with the company or have moved on
    elsewhere (nowhere to be found or heard from).

    The two elements your lawyer, the jury, the plaintiff, and the Judge need to be satisfied of beyond the shadow of a doubt - is (1. documenting your actual work) that you took the time to record the dates and times of your actual plowing occurrences (incl. temperatures, precipitation amounts and types) and (2. who it was who authorized this work to be performed)
    with whom it was you spoke with and/or submitted to in writing at the client's company who ultimately refused the salting.

    This important documentation paired together with your proper-level of insurance at the time your contracted snow and ice management work was originally performed, and a very-well-written and signed contract in-place before any of your work was ever performed upon this customer's premises,
    featuring "mutual indemnification" and "holds harmless" Agreements (search this site's "Search" tool to save your business even when they do slip and fall after you've salted!) -are the elements that will save your business from needless litigation when the tables turn on you, friend.