Picture this: An elderly couple wakes up on a cold morning in the middle of winter and they head out for breakfast. On their way, Lenny and Gertrude decide to swing by your business. They pull in and park their car. Lenny rushes out to open Gertrude’s door, as he has done thousands of times before. In his haste, poor Lenny doesn’t notice a small patch of ice on the ground and he slips, breaking his hip. Lenny doesn’t believe your business caused the fall and refuses to turn in a claim. However his healthcare provider, knowing the incident occurred on your property, has gladly decided to pursue a claim on his behalf and begins sending threatening letters to your business.
As a claims professional, hundreds of claims cross my desk in a given year but no claim type matches the frequency and severity that comes with slips, trips, and falls. Often times these falls occur as a result of snow and ice in a parking lot that is serviced by a contractor or as a result of rugs delivered by a linen provider. It’s only after a claim has occurred that a second thought is given to that contract you signed with a service provider that ended up stuffed into the bottom of a filing cabinet somewhere. The simple truth when it comes to liability is that those contracts do matter. They may not always be iron-clad but they can help or hurt your bottom line. (more…)