Cold winter weather can cause snow and ice to build up on walkways and roadways, creating liability issues for your New Jersey company. Taking some simple precautions can often reduce the risk of injuries and potential lawsuits against your business. Here are some of the most important ways to limit your premises liability and to maintain a safer environment for your employees, customers and others who may venture onto your property during the aftermath of a winter storm.

Hire a Reputable Snow Removal Company

You depend on your snow removal company to provide the right services after a major winter storm. Performing a little due diligence can help you to determine the reliability and the reputation of the companies you are considering for your snow and ice removal requirements. Be sure to ask about any outstanding or settled legal actions for slip-and-fall accidents that have been brought against the snow removal company or its employees. This can sometimes give you a clearer picture of what to expect from a company you are considering.

Make Sure You are Listed as an Additional Insured

Once you have selected a company for your snow and ice removal services, you need to be added to their insurance policy as an additional insured party. The coverage should be primary and noncontributory, which means that your ice removal company’s coverage pays first and does not require payment by your insurance policy in addition to their policy. This is necessary to protect your business if an accident occurs because of the failure of your ice and snow removal company to clear your sidewalks or driveways effectively. By making sure you are appropriately covered by the insurance of your snow removal company, you can significantly reduce your corporate liability for these issues.

Check the Wording of the Indemnification Provision

Working with a qualified civil litigation attorney can help you to ensure that your company is properly indemnified against damages and injuries that may occur because of a failure by your snow removal company to clear away icy patches and snow. This can help your company by ensuring that the wording of your contract provides the right protection against liability for your business.

Define Responsibilities and Expectations Carefully

Your contract litigation attorney can also provide you with help in drafting a contract that outlines and defines the responsibilities and obligations of your company’s snow removal company.

• For example, if you want your snow removal company to decide when to clear your property, listing the conditions that would trigger an automatic visit can help you to avoid miscommunications.
• Alternatively, if you prefer to call for snow and ice removal, making sure that this is included in your contract can help you to avoid unnecessary charges for snow removal on days when your company may not be open for business.

By including a clear and complete list of requirements in your contractual agreement with these service providers, you can ensure the best legal recourse if your snow removal company fails to live up to your expectations.

Keep Records of All Snow and Ice Removal Activities

Tracking the performance of your snow removal company and recording their successes and failures in removing snow and ice can help you to demonstrate that you are engaged with and aware of the activities performed on your behalf. Maintaining a record of the applications of ice melt and the plowing, sweeping and removal of snow can also help you in negotiating prices for a new year of service with your current company or a new snow and ice removal firm.

Include Contingency Plans for Refreezing and Return Visits

Your contract should also include detailed instructions about required return visits for situations in which snow may melt during the day and then refreeze at night. This can help you to avoid potentially dangerous conditions that can persist for several days after the initial snowfall or freeze.

At the Di Lauri & Hewitt Law Group, we specialize in providing you with the most practical solutions for personal injury defense, commercial litigation and contract law. We will work with you to determine the right approach for your legal situation. Give us a call today at 973-354-5783 to schedule a consultation with our team. We are here to serve your legal needs now and in the future.

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