Is the Snowplow Contractor or the Apartment Owner Responsible in a Slip and Fall Case in Vermont?
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Is the Snowplow Contractor or the Apartment Owner Responsible in a Slip and Fall Case in Vermont?

| May 27, 2021 | Firm News |

Every slip and fall claim is different. Sometimes determining who, if anyone, is liable is not clear. Here is a scenario whereby a tenant who slipped and fell after hitting an ice patch in their apartment complex.
In this situation the owner of the apartment complex hired a contractor to plow and sand the parking lot.
Here is a scenario where a contractor who was hired to remove snow from the parking lot of an apartment complex could be liable.. A renter slipped on some ice in the parking lot on their way back to their apartment and became injured.
The injured party presented a claim to the insurance company of the apartment complex. The insurer denied the claim and medical payments, indicating that our insured had signed a contract with their insured (the complex), which absolves them of “any and all liability” and that the contractor would hold them harmless in the event of incident or injury on their property. Their contract also states that the apartment complex will be added as an additional insured to our insured’s policy, which was not done. The contract stipulates that the insured (contractor) can and will only report back to the property to do additional work once they are called.
Regarding medical payments, does the contractor’s commercial general liability policy extend to this injured party? The policy states: “We will pay medical expenses as described below for bodily injury caused by an accident: (3) Because of your operations; provided that…”
Does a fall that occurs 48 hours after the parking lot was plowed within being “Because of your operations?”

The contract between the contractor and apartment complex contains a hold harmless agreement, absolving the complex of all liability in the event of incident or injury on their property in connection with the contractor’s work. However, the contractor’s policy has a bodily injury exclusion for products-completed operations. So who is liable for this tenant’s medical payments? We look to the ISO general liability policy for our answer. Please call me at 802-888-7707 for a free consulation about your slip and fall or personal injury claim.