As a business owner, you want to keep your property looking well-maintained throughout the winter. For many properties, you need to remove snow and ice from the walkways. You should know that you have a legal obligation to keep your property safe for employees and customers. If someone falls due to an unshoveled walkway or icy entrance, you might be facing a lawsuit. Here are a few ways to keep your business property safe for everyone.
You Are Responsible for Your Business
Many businesses have a duty to keep their premises clear of any substantial accumulation of snow and ice. The property should have passages that are reasonably safe for the public, employees, and customers. While you can argue that ice and snow are acts of nature, you have the legal responsibility to keep your property and business safe. With readily-available snow removal tools, companies should not have to wait to remove ice and snow. As you can tell, you want a plan in place to remove the ice and snow from your property as soon as possible. If you allow these elements to remain on your sidewalks or in the parking lots, you might be putting your business at risk for legal consequences.
Reasonably Safe Premises
If someone slips and falls at your business due to a lack of snow removal, you might be held liable for injuries and damage. Some conditions have to be met for a slip and fall lawsuit. First, business premises liability states that the company should have known that the ice and snow posed a risk to customers or employees. Secondly, the business understands that a reasonable person would not assume any danger by walking on their property. Finally, a company that has failed to reasonably protect an individual from the ice and snow threat can be held legally responsible for injuries.
To prevent a lawsuit, your business needs to inspect the entire premises for snow and ice. You cannot argue that you didn’t know about the slippery conditions. Ignorance is never a good defense. If a dangerous situation has existed for a long time, the business has the responsibility to remove those dangers.
However, snow and ice can accumulate quickly in the winter. Some businesses may not have time to remove these dangers. As soon as the snow and ice start to fall, you should have plans to remove it from your business property. For a lawsuit to proceed, the injured pedestrian must show evidence that the damages were predictable, and the business did not remove these hazards from their property.
While snow and ice on the ground are evident, some people might not understand the dangers of these conditions. As a business, you cannot be relieved from premises liability because the ice and snow are visible to pedestrians. The company should either remove the ice and snow or warn of the dangers. If there is no action on the part of the business, then the property owners can be responsible for legal actions.
Challenges to Premises Liability
Not all lawsuits are created equal. In some cases, you can remove the snow and ice from your property and still face a lawsuit. If a business can show that the injured party knew the dangers of snow and ice, then the pedestrian assumed the risk of falling. In many cases, the lawsuits are dismissed, but you still have the hassle of paying attorney fees and losing time away from your business. If you lose the case, you could be responsible for paying medical bills, court costs, and other fees. In general, these expenses will take away from your business profits.
If you are looking to stay safe from lawsuits, you need to make sure that all ice and snow are adequately removed from the walkways, sidewalks, and parking lots. You should make every effort to keep these areas clear for your customers, pedestrians, and employees.
Manage Your Snow and Ice Accumulation
While you cannot control the weather, you must control the amounts of snow and ice around your business. You need to take special care of parking lots, entrances, exits, walkways, ramps, shaded areas, and stairs.
If you are looking to minimize the risk of slips and falls, you need to plan for snow removal and treatment. You want to avoid creating dangerous conditions around your property. All your snow removal and treatment plans should be designed with safety in mind. Even with the best snow removal plans, there are times when accidents will occur. However, you can minimize your legal risk by actively removing snow and ice from around your business.
Hire a Snow Removal Team
If you are looking for ways to keep your property safe during the winter months, you should consider hiring a professional snow removal team. These companies will perform snow removal from parking lots and sidewalks. They will also clear the ice and apply deicing solutions to prevent ice from reforming. Before you hire a company, you need to make sure they have the proper equipment and resources to handle your job.
Companies with modern equipment are more reliable than those with outdated machines. You also want to hire a company that is ready to plow the snow at a moment’s notice. Many professional companies are available to remove snow on a 24/7 schedule. Your company should also have insurance in case of a slip and fall claim. While insurance cannot stop a lawsuit, it can protect all parties from additional liabilities from an accident.
We’re Here to Remove Your Ice and Snow
At Charlestown Landscaping, we can help with all your commercial property snow removal needs. We have the equipment to remove snow and ice from your property. Our teams are available around the clock, and we will work until the job is finished. You can keep your business and customers safe this winter. If you would like to schedule a consultation for your property, please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.