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State Laws

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by timme4, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. timme4

    timme4 Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Can anyone tell me where I can find the laws by state regarding to snow removal and who is at fault if there is no salt spread and someone falls. Or maybe someone can tell me what they think the law is.
  2. don't quote me on this but what seems logical to me is the person who falls would most likely sue the property owner first. and then depending upon if you were asked to salt and you did and the person fell on ice you cant control mother nature because salt doesn't always get rid of the all the ice. but you can always just call a lawyer and find out. or find out if in the contract you can have it state somewhere that you are not liable if someone gets hurt falling on ice.
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    There is no law per-say..
    The police will not write you a ticket/summons.

    It's liability.

    Snow and ice are natural phenomena.
    You can not be held responsible for it.

    It's when you allow a dangerous situation to occur and do nothing about it.
    Then you could get in trouble if someone gets hurt and you did nothing to mitigate the situation.

    Remember ice in natural.

    You leave a windrow of snow, someone trips/slips falls on it and hurts them selves.
    You and the property owners may be named in a law suite.(sued)

    This is where having the proper INS comes in to play.

    p.s. just because a property owner signs a paper does not necessarily release you from being responsible.
    In a law suite they will come after everyone involved in the situation.

    Some things you can not sign away.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Laws vary by State. Do a Google search using your state name and "statutes" - ie "Maine Statutes". Then do a search on that site using "snow".

    Most states exempt themselves from liability for damages due to snow and ice covered roads (if you hit someone or run off the road, obviously you were out of control due to going too fast for conditions). Otherwise - usually the liability is a civil matter, meaning police will not get involved. You will need to engage a lawyer and bring a suit - generally against the property owner, renter and person hired to address the snow and ice (the plow guy and company he works for). It will be up to the judge to determine who (if anybody) is responsible, how much and for what percentage each is responsible. The lawyer will go for the "deep pockets", but that won't let the little guy off the hook. He'll just try to get the one with the most money (or insurance) to bear the most responsibility. The little guy then pays for the rest of his life.
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Private property means it's a civil suit. States only get involve in criminal acts, i.e. driving offenses on public roadways, deliberate acts of vandalism, and DUI regardless of the location.

    Most states have a good Samaritan act protecting you from civil action as a result of performing public service i.e. volunteer firefighter, snow removal on state owned roadways.

    These do not protect you on commercial or private residential properties but prevent you from being held liable for others inability to drive in inclement weather.

    Private commercial property, somebody slips and falls, everybody gets sued. the property owner can't sign anything that will stop the suit from coming. you will have to fight it, and depending on your contract, insurance, and the out come of the trail you may find yourself in a supplication suit (an insurance company suing you to recoup pay outs.)

    There are lots of good contracts out there to help protect your liability exposure. Often you can get your Insurance carrier to review your contract and make recommendations on wording and content. After all they are the ones defending you in court, it's in their best interests for you to have a solid, reasonable defensible contract. Courts will throw out contracts that are contrary to the letter of the law, you can't write a contract to contradict to the law.
    So the quality of your contract, plowing records and performance of service all will determine the outcome of the suit, but on private commercial property not even doing the job right will protect you from being sued. everybody seems to see the civil suit as another way to win the lottery and a slip and fall as a ticket to riches. Snow removal contractors are prime targets, protect yourself with good insurance coverage.
  6. lawnMaster5000

    lawnMaster5000 Senior Member
    Messages: 105

  7. CNY Plow

    CNY Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 145

    NY Law

    The only "Law" I've read regarding snow removal is that the property owner have 12 hours after a snowfall to clear their sidewalks. All the rest of the Law pertains to how the municipalities shall equip, maintain, pay for, etc.

    You will find "Laws" in your state statutes (hope you like reading). Or, you can pay an attorney for a legal summary to include in your contract

    I believe you're more concerned with who is liable. Read your contract.

    No plow contractor, in their right mind, will stipulate they are going to guarantee 100% clear & dry surfaces. Maintain a HANDWRITTEN log record of your time and services - it will be your only defense if you get sued. You can put your records in your computer for reference but don't throw away the hand logs.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2007
  8. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    In our town/city you have 24hrs after the snowfall ends to clear the CITY'S sidewalk.
    If there is one bordering your property.
    No need to apply salt.

    Exemptions, If the city deposits the snow onto the sidewalk the city will clear the snow from the sidewalk.

    The state usually lets the city/town write their own ordinances regarding snow removal with in the city's limits.
    look your city's ordnance regarding snow removal/plowing.

    Once again, snow & ice occur naturally.

    99.9% of the time the property owner is responsibly for their property, you would have to create a dangerous situation to be held liable, IE , you left a windrow across the lot and someone falls crossing it.Then you may need a lawyer.