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Whos Responsible

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by dmjr77, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. dmjr77

    dmjr77 Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    Hello! I have a question about who is responsible if something happens in a driveway. A customer of mine requested that I dont plow her out this past storm. If it the snow melts and freezes creating a ice situtation and something happens to me (slipping on the ice) or my vehicle in the driveway (sliding off the driveway) because who is responsible? Thank You.
  2. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    you need to get it writing that she didnt want you to plow for the storm. Otherwise it is a he said she said situation if something were to happen.
  3. dmjr77

    dmjr77 Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    Would a paid reciept be good enough? I keep a paid reciept for each customer on file with check numbers. Would it be ok if I put the storm date and "customer requests no plow"? Thank You
  4. Mick

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

    Sure. Or "customer declines service". Although I doubt if it would really go to trial. I keep insurance "just in case" but, really, the likelihood of someone sueing you for "slip and fall" in a private driveway are nil. I know in Maine, the courts have taken the view that "this is Maine, Maine gets snow, snow is slick". The one case that I am aware here regarding "slip and fall" was at a private college. A student descended a set of stairs that had not been shoveled. The student slipped, fell and sued. The student lost. In essence, the judge said the student didn't use "common sense" by not staying off stairs that had not been cleared of snow.
  5. Peopleeater

    Peopleeater Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    I thought you were better off if you didn't clear the snow at all. The danger in getting sued I believe comes from the attempt to clear the snow. The snow does have a time limit to be cleared usually 24 hrs or something. It is usually a local regulation.

  6. Mick

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

    Perhaps, Jeff. But the argument could be made that you neglected to perform as agreed (you didn't plow, but should have which resulted in an injury). A lot depends on the State laws and, ultimately, on the judge or jury.
  7. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    i call if they dont want it done i say it not my problem
  8. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    All my customers sign a release form stating they are responsible for anything that happens to everyone on their property as a result of any action or inaction of themselves or myself. No sign, no plow.
  9. Boutallnite

    Boutallnite Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    That release form will NOT do anything in court if it ever comes to that. That is more of a formality.
  10. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    According to my lawyer it's good enough for court. It's more to make sure they are aware of what's going on on their property instead of trying to blame me, but I had my lawyer review and rewrite it as necessary when I first drafted it and review any changes I make. He says I'm covered. Technically I could argue it's a condition of my contract with the customer because the form 'could" be construed as a contract.
  11. IndySnowPlow

    IndySnowPlow Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 214

    Experience talking here..........

    If you are contracted to plow/clear said area then you should do it. If the customer refuses service get them to sign that they declined service. If they do not sign ( refuse ) then make a note on the service ticket that "customer refused signature...Date and time stamp it.

    On the other hand if you are say contracted to salt (de-ice) and you do so ( lets say you did a good job) and someone "slips-falls" and get injured, seeks medical attention right away and is treated for the injury and incurs charges from the medical facility that treated them for the "slip-fall" injury~whew~ they can then seek damages from the property owner.....IF,,,,they can prove neglegence <sp> and only then. If you did your service then you can not be held liable ( been there in court & done that). Simply the judge will dismiss the case based on >Non founded fault< NO FAULT> because the property owner hired you the contractor to provide the de-icing service and therefore precautions were taken to provide a safe area for the customer.

    Ta-Da.....thats it in short form
  12. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    EXACTLY! That's what commercial ins. is for. Believe me...when something happens(your fault or not)...the victim see's $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
  13. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I have commercial insurance (State Farm) but the agent tells me there is no such thing as insurance against a slip-and-fall type of case. He tells me the insurance is against you damaging objects. In the case of a slip-and-fall case, they have to prove you did something wrong (negligence). He also told me that if you haven't gotten to a site yet that is NOT considered negligence.

    Has anyone been told differently?
  14. Mick

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

    Yes, this has come up many times on here and it always seems to be State Farm that has these issues. There was even an article in the Readers Digest awhile ago about the problems with State Farm.

    The insurance for "slip and fall" is called General Liability.

    My suggestion - find a new insurance company/agent that knows about business insurance.