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What to do? Liability?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by bluerage94, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. bluerage94

    bluerage94 Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    We were hit with a Blizzard on Dec 19,2009 and one of the facilities that we service just reached out to me a few days ago with a problem.

    The front entrance way to the building was cleared and a small 4ft mount of snow had accumulated were the front apron is. The snow mound was basically on the shoulder of the roadway which is a state road. Three weeks later the snow mound was still there and had not melted. No one complained and the state never cleared the shoulder. Now the company says one of the associates was leaving and swerved to avoid a oncoming car and struck the snow mound. He called the state DOT who told him its not their responsibility but mine since I service the facility. He goes to the company to fix his car and they laugh at him and give him my number. He tells me there's about $1000 worth of damage, and he doesn't have a police report or any photos of the snow mound. I know...How does someone run into a snow mound weeks after a storm and have $1000 worth of damage? Not to mention its been in the 40's for days before this. There's no way that I'm giving this guy $1000 but I dont want my insurance carrier to see this as an incident... I also know that the company says this guy doesnt have a leg to stand on but I also dont want them to see me blow this guy off...Because I do make good money off the contract and it is my responsibility to address the situation. But just cant decide what the best way is???
  2. Colorado

    Colorado Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I'd take advantage of one of those free 30 minute consultations that lawyers are always handing out to see if he has a case. I don't think he does personally. He swerved... he hit something, he is liable and he doesn't have a police report, (probably because he knew it was his fault) so without that it's going to be very difficult for him to file a claim. Sucks to be him, but it sounds like he doesn't have insurance on his car either or you would have been contacted by them already I imagine. That, all by itself is a pretty good indication that he either can't or is unwilling to pursue this legally. Me personally, I'd probably give my insurance company the heads up, but I've never been screwed by them for doing so in the past (I know not everyone is as fortunate in that regard).

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Tell him it is the car that caused him to swerved is the responsible one. I have a feeling the drivers name was Jack Daniels.

    Tell him to pound sand. Talk to your insurance agent and tell him you think the guy was drunk and just plain ran over the snow bank and the curb did any damage found.

    If there is any.
  4. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    So this "snow mount" was off the parking area and drive lanes right? if so you are not liable that is like somebody hitting a tree in my parking lot at holding me liable because I planted the tree there...

    As for the 1000.- of damage, it doesn't take to rack up a 1000.- body shop bill...
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I would pass it off to your insurance. That should have been the first thing you did. These days they aren't paying off as much as they used to so they are more likely to tell the guy to get lost. They can't hold it against you if they dont pay anything out. As for looking bad I would think passing it off would be the best thing you can do. In the end though people can claim just about anything these days. It wouldn't be impossible to not get named in a lawsuit because you planted a tree that someone crashed into, etc.
  6. dforbes

    dforbes Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    If he would of hit a car when he swerved would the owner of the car be responsable? No, he doesn't have any claim. Telling him your not responsable is should not be seen as blowing him off. I would tell him I have no responsablity and see what he says, I would also talk with my insurance agent and let him know what is going on. If he does decide to sue you and the insurance company agrees that he has no claim, they will furnish thier lawyers and it should not count against you.
  7. Mick

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

    Ever hear of "nuisance suit"? May be cheaper to pay him off than fight it.
  8. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    He doesn't have a leg to stand on.
    Tell him he should sue his parents for raising a stupid leach. I bet the apple didn't fall far from the tree though..
  9. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Actually depending on where you planted the tree they may have a case. :laughing:

    I have a rock in my yard that stick up about 24 inches and had a snowmobile hit it covered with fluffy snow. After much lawyering and arguing my homeowners insurance paid the claim. Now I stick a flag on it.
  10. hoskm01

    hoskm01 Senior Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 475

    Did you counter with trespassing, and damage to your rock?

    The frivolity with people these days just boggles the mind.
  11. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    No police report. No pictures. No case.

    Ignore it unless youre served with papers that youre being sued. If that happens turn it over to your insurance company and they will handle it.

    Dont make any contact, dont admit anything, dont even acknowledge it unless youre sued.
  12. Pinky Demon

    Pinky Demon PlowSite.com Addict
    from Ohio
    Messages: 1,121

    I thought that was called failure to control? :confused:
  13. KBTConst

    KBTConst Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    If it was not your job to clear it I would tell him sorry for your loss but its not your problem then if he pursues it turn it in to your Ins. Mine tells me that they wont do anything without a police report and pics of the site. This way the company you work for wont think your just blowing the guy off because you did address the complaint.
  14. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,779

    I would acknoledge the complaint in writing, be nice to the point, state that you have reviewed their position(claim) and understand their frustration but the property where the accident happened is State and pass the buck back to them (The state). Any further push to pursue you... contact your broker or lawyer for advice. Assume no responsibility. Send a copy to your customer. If they already know about it. Hope this helps
  15. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    It is not this guys decision to determine who was right or wrong. The only responsibility of the company is to protect itself. At this point a claim has been made, even if verbal. That means someone is pointing a finger. From here it could go as far as the claimants wallet allows. Dont pass judgement on that either.

    A claim has been made.
    It is not up to either party to determine fault.
    It is in the best interest of everyone involved to CYA.
    First call should have been to the insurance co.
    Second call should have been to the lawyer.
    Third call should have been to the police for a record.
    At this point it is the job of the insurance and lawyers to hash it out.
    This is why you have these things.
    Your only contact from here on out should be to your people whose job is to handle this for you.

    This is a perfect example of why you should have insurance and lawyers. Whats not to say you give this guy $1000 and then 6 months from now you get sued for his previously undiscovered injuries.. Dont trust no one. Already more enery has been spent on this than if the proper people where originally notified.