Slip-and-fall liability days after service is completed
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Editor’s Note: Let’s face it— slips and falls are an everyday occurrence, and they are also one of the most frequent types of liability claims. Sometimes determining who, if anyone, is liable is not clear. In this week’s question, we have a tenant who slipped and fell after hitting an ice patch in their apartment complex parking lot.
Question: Our insured was contracted to remove snow and ice from the parking lot of an apartment complex. On February 18, our insured reported to the complex to remove snow. Two days later, on Feb. 20, a renter at the complex left their apartment and walked across the parking lot to their vehicle. They 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.
The liability investigation is ongoing.
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 we scrapped the parking lot fall within being “Because of your operations?”
Also, the policy has an exclusion that says, “We will not pay expenses for bodily injury: f. Products-completed operations hazard included within the products-completed operations hazard.” Does that exclusion apply in this scenario?
— Kentucky Subscriber
Analysis: 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.
Answer: To learn the answer to this week’s coverage Q&A, please log into your FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation account.
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