Register free!
Search
 
     

Click for Weather
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-31-2014, 12:19 PM
kgcs kgcs is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Posts: 198
Question about Liability?

I installed a system for a commercial customer during the summer. This fall, I called about winterizing and they said that they wanted to leave it on during the winter to water the rye grass. Usually we do not have many freezing days in the south but this year has been a different year. Well today they had a customer slip and fall on one of the icy sidewalks and they called me and asked me to turn the system off. I told them I will turn it off and will order a freeze sensor to prevent this from happening in the future. I have no idea how bad the fall was but if the customer was seriously injured and sued the business, is it possible my business could get sued also? I warned the customer about possible freezing weather (I was referring more or less to the pipes, not really the water freezing on sidewalks) but the customer said they would take their chances. My business is fully insured but I prefer not to be sued!!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-31-2014, 12:23 PM
ztman ztman is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: mountain pa
Posts: 725
Any one can sue you for any reason, but based on your description you should not be concerned. The fact that a customer does not take precautions to prevent pipes from freezing in record low temps, is not something you would be responsible for.
__________________
I don't mind spending money, I mind wasting money!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-31-2014, 12:33 PM
kgcs kgcs is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztman View Post
Any one can sue you for any reason, but based on your description you should not be concerned. The fact that a customer does not take precautions to prevent pipes from freezing in record low temps, is not something you would be responsible for.
I'm not concerned about the frozen pipes, that's covered in my warranty stating it is not covered. I'm concerned about the person slipping in falling from the irrigation system.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-31-2014, 12:39 PM
ztman ztman is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: mountain pa
Posts: 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgcs View Post
I'm not concerned about the frozen pipes, that's covered in my warranty stating it is not covered. I'm concerned about the person slipping in falling from the irrigation system.
If the lady slipped and fell because the customer was using the system in freezing temps, that's their problem

If the lady slipped and fell because the customer didn't prevent the pipes from freezing and they broke causing ice on the side walk, that's their problem.

If the leak was caused by faulty workmanship, that's your problem.

By the way, most slip and fall law suits, if they go to trial, are found in favor of the defendant. Very simple defense. Person who fell is always asked if they were looking where they were walking. If the say yes, they should have seen the condition that caused the injury. If they say no, then they should have been.

Bottom line, I wouldn't loose any sleep over this.
__________________
I don't mind spending money, I mind wasting money!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-31-2014, 01:03 PM
kgcs kgcs is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztman View Post
If the lady slipped and fell because the customer was using the system in freezing temps, that's their problem

If the lady slipped and fell because the customer didn't prevent the pipes from freezing and they broke causing ice on the side walk, that's their problem.

If the leak was caused by faulty workmanship, that's your problem.

By the way, most slip and fall law suits, if they go to trial, are found in favor of the defendant. Very simple defense. Person who fell is always asked if they were looking where they were walking. If the say yes, they should have seen the condition that caused the injury. If they say no, then they should have been.

Bottom line, I wouldn't loose any sleep over this.
That puts my mind at some ease. My insurance has dropped for the last 3 years and I would like to keep that trend going!
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-31-2014, 01:27 PM
SoCalLandscapeMgmt SoCalLandscapeMgmt is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: So. Cal.
Posts: 1,431
Like anything you want to make sure that you have a paper trail on any matter that could come back and potentially bite you in the ass like this. If you have an e-mail chain between you and the client discussing their choice to not winterize the system you're in good shape. There are certain things that I always make sure that I communicate in writing with clients rather than just getting a verbal approval or direction over the phone.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-31-2014, 01:36 PM
kgcs kgcs is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalLandscapeMgmt View Post
Like anything you want to make sure that you have a paper trail on any matter that could come back and potentially bite you in the ass like this. If you have an e-mail chain between you and the client discussing their choice to not winterize the system you're in good shape. There are certain things that I always make sure that I communicate in writing with clients rather than just getting a verbal approval or direction over the phone.
That is a good idea and I will start including this in my sprinkler system contracts regarding slip & falls. Can never be to careful when we live in a sue happy society.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-31-2014, 01:43 PM
bcg bcg is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tx
Posts: 1,770
I would not be surprised at all if you get named in a suit if one gets filed, attorney's generally name everyone they can think of and then focus on whoever has the deepest pockets. I could see an attorney arguing that this was foreseeable and you're negligent for not installing a freeze sensor, especially since you're installing one reactively. If you offered a freeze sensor to the customer with your original proposal and they declined then you'd be in the clear, if it wasn't offered, you'll probably have to defend yourself but that's what insurance is for. Good luck.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-31-2014, 01:47 PM
SoCalLandscapeMgmt SoCalLandscapeMgmt is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: So. Cal.
Posts: 1,431
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcg View Post
I would not be surprised at all if you get named in a suit if one gets filed, attorney's generally name everyone they can think of and then focus on whoever has the deepest pockets. I could see an attorney arguing that this was foreseeable and you're negligent for not installing a freeze sensor, especially since you're installing one reactively. If you offered a freeze sensor to the customer with your original proposal and they declined then you'd be in the clear, if it wasn't offered, you'll probably have to defend yourself but that's what insurance is for. Good luck.
We were named in a slip and fall lawsuit at an apartment complex. There was water surfacing in the parking lot but it was not from the irrigation system. It was from a leaky fire sprinkler line at the 8" fire system backflow. Everybody who they thought might be remotely liable got named. We proved that it wasn't our issue but last I heard nothing ever came of the suit.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-31-2014, 01:52 PM
kgcs kgcs is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Posts: 198
Well just spoke with the manager and she said the owner said just go ahead and turn it off for the winter and don't worry about installing a freeze sensor. Hopefully no legal action will take place but I guess time will tell. She said the person who fell busted their head but I am not aware of what severity.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump






Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:17 AM.

Page generated in 0.08260 seconds with 9 queries