Winter slip and fall help

I’ve owned a park for no more than 2 weeks and have already received a notice from a tenant that they have slipped and fell on one of the park-owned roads due to snow/ice on the gravel roads. They are now experiencing back pain and are looking to me for help.
The roads are plowed regularly (and I believe were actively being plowed during the accident). What would be the best way to proceed in this case? I’d like to make sure the guy is ok obviously, but I am not sure what else I can or should offer.

Thanks!

First call is to your lawyer and get your ducks in a row. Second call is to your insurance agent to understand your insurance policy. Both of these professionals should guide you through the process of how to respond, or if an agent (lawyer or insurer) should respond on your behalf. The first question to understand is, what, if anything, are you actually liable for and how does this tenant prove to you that the slip and fall really happened? He/she could be telling truth, but also you just don’t know if they are, and this issue could be gone in two weeks. So use the council of your agents and they will guide you in the right direction.

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I agree with JD. See what your attorney and insurer say. I’d start with your insurer since they won’t charge you to talk. Like JD said, it’s possible this problem could be gone in 2 weeks. It sounds like you are doing everything that can be done to provide a safe environment for your tenants so hopefully you can’t be accused of being negligent - my guess is that you are probably doing more than the town/city the park is in… I doubt the tenant would go after the city if they slipped on the sidewalk. I would respond to them to see if they are ok… then I’d offer them my advice and tell them to put ice or heat on their back or do whatever the doctor says. If they say they want to sue you or are asking for money, tell them that they will have to have their attorney contact yours. Is the tenant following your rules and keeping their homes and lot clean/tidy?

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you better have liability insurance, if so, have them handle it and stay out of it.
if you dont , this will be a lesson, we are law suit magnets…wait for the atty letter and good luck

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Both Ohio and Michigan have “open and obvious” slip and fall laws. Meaning …Hey…you live in a an area where it snows and it’s icy, you should recognize the obvious danger.

In order to get compensation, the client has to prove that the condition was something that was created by the property owner, not just a natural occurrence like snow and ice.

My experience is that lawyers don’t want to take cases that are hard to prove and end up with small judgements.

So a sore back is not going to get a lawyer excited.

However sometimes an insurance company will go ahead and throw the tenant a couple of shut up and go away dollars, which happened to me when a client slipped and fell on his own sidewalk which the lease clearly said was his responsibility to clear.

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Do all of the above, and…
Depending on your relationship with the seller, you will want to call him too. Find out if this guy has been a trouble maker in the past. That could give you a insight of how to deal with him. Good luck

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Sorry to hear of your clumsiness, hopefully you can heal quickly.

Great advice here @JD, @tmperrault, @clintncal, @Bosse, @Padre, and @Corbay. Very much appreciate all the insight. I reached out to my insurance to get their input. They told me that they have been receiving lots of winter slip and fall cases, so my situation is not out of the norm for this time of year in Wisconsin. They did not have any other advice other than to wait and see if the resident heads to the doctor and tries to push back some of the charges on to my insurance. My lawyer echoed the same.

I did reach out to the resident to wish him well and to also let him know that the plow service will continue with their regular plow routine, which also includes a salt/sand mixture to help with traction on the road.

On a positive note, we did receive a timely rent payment from this resident since the incident occurred, so at least he did not decide to hold some sort of grudge against the park.

Thanks again for all the insight folks,
Dustin

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Usually, with premises bodily injury claims, it’s best to report them to your general liabilty insurance company for them to handle, unless you can settle the matter quickly, cheaply, and with a written legal release. The problem with handling these yourself for long prior to reporting it to your insurance company is that all insurance policies have a requirement of prompt reporting of claims. If a policyholder is slow to report and the insurance company defense is damaged because that, then it’s possible the insurance company can deny coverage when there otherwise would have been coverage with a prompt notice.

Also, for most park owners, liability insurance claims have a zero $ deductible. The main reason for this is that insurance companies don’t want policyholders trying to save a few bucks on a deductible to mess up a claim that could have been handled efficiently by the insurance company up front.

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Excellent information, thank you @KurtKelley. I was not aware of the prompt reporting requirements, so that is very helpful!