Canadian Court Decision: Snow Clearing Liability of Homeowners - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-27-2019, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Canadian Court Decision: Snow Clearing Liability of Homeowners

Canadian court just found home owners not liable for poorly cleared sidewalks.

This is of particular interest to me. As some of you know I do 26 properties as a snow angel. Years ago my neighbours approached me and offered to pay. So I checked with my insurance company and what I learned was scary—at least for a one man show who wants to have a small business clearing snow. The premiums were stupid high ($1500/month + I needed commercial truck insurance). Way out of my range.

By accepting money as a contractor your insurance (or lack thereof) kicks in. The homeowner's liability coverage on their personal policy becomes void once he/she pays for your services—and you can't "clause out" ice removal/chipping or salting. If you get paid for the job you have to do the whole job, not just clearing the snow. So if you get paid—but don't have liability insurance as a contractor (which you are), and there is an incident—you've got a problem. You'll likely get sued out of necessity by the homeowner. What a mess.

I looked into those app sites that contract out snow removal jobs as one-offs based on location. You get to pick and choose the jobs you want. But when I researched the Calgary app, they don't indemnify you as a temporary contractor. No way will I get involved in this train wreck for the same reasons.

This court decision is interesting because for the homeowner it is good news. I'm not a lawyer, but as a volunteer it sounds like good news as well. As long as you are not getting paid I suspect the homeowner's insurance would still be valid. This would help protect volunteers. But this court case takes it a step further and rules that even if your effort to clear snow fails and creates a more hazardous situation due to its removal, you are still likely not liable. Areas like Alberta and BC with freeze-thaw cycles mean you can inadvertently create black ice.

Have to wait and see if it gets appealed, but for now good news for homeowners (and I suspect volunteers).

Now if only the neighbours would stop bringing me cookies. That seems like a legal grey area if I've ever heard of one

Full article is here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...suit-1.5374652

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post #2 of 4 Old 11-28-2019, 01:31 AM
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It is like that in almost every state in the USA also.
Even if you are just helping out a neighbor and don't accept any "Pay", the lawyers can still come after you to make their greedy pockets fatter with your money when they take you to court if somebody falls and gets hurt in the area you cleared out while trying to "Help out" your friendly neighbor.
If someone gets hurt and requires medical attention at a hospital or doctor and any insurance is involved, the insurance company will have their lawyers go after you. Its a "Big Money" game for lawyers, insurance companies, and the court system in the USA.
Once an insurance company gets involved, its too late. The neighbor mite not want to get the person in trouble for helping them, but the insurance company does not care, all they want is money for hospital bills and any court costs and lawyer fees.
That is how "Capitalism" works in the USA, to make certain people rich off the expense of others, even if it is a "Volunteer" just trying to "Help" another person out, that's how it works in the USA.- "Make the lawyers rich"

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post #3 of 4 Old 11-28-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ST1100A View Post
That is how "Capitalism" works in the USA, to make certain people rich off the expense of others, even if it is a "Volunteer" just trying to "Help" another person out, that's how it works in the USA.- "Make the lawyers rich"
I get you. Yes, the USA far more litigious than we Canucks are. We don't even allow lawyers to advertise on TV. That's why I was happy to see this ruling. I'm a big believer in common sense, and suing someone for trying to doing the right thing—if the weather goes the wrong way—is just greedy. The ruling isn't applicable to contractors, and the greed of insurance companies is a whole other topic. Personally, I favour a tiered system for everything from taxes to insurance for small businesses—until such time as they grow. At this time rates can go up. To quote Bob Marley/Eric Clapton, "Every time I plant a seed He say kill it before it grow."

On the other hand we do our share of stupid things up here in Canada too. But at least when it comes to snow removal common sense seems to prevail. (Pending appeal of course).

I started doing snow clearing because years ago my wife slipped and fell while walking our dog (on two occasions). A broken rib and a concussion later, I now clear the path. We never sued anyone.

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post #4 of 4 Old 11-28-2019, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ST1100A View Post
It is like that in almost every state in the USA also.
Even if you are just helping out a neighbor and don't accept any "Pay", the lawyers can still come after you to make their greedy pockets fatter with your money when they take you to court if somebody falls and gets hurt in the area you cleared out while trying to "Help out" your friendly neighbor.
If someone gets hurt and requires medical attention at a hospital or doctor and any insurance is involved, the insurance company will have their lawyers go after you. Its a "Big Money" game for lawyers, insurance companies, and the court system in the USA.
Once an insurance company gets involved, its too late. The neighbor mite not want to get the person in trouble for helping them, but the insurance company does not care, all they want is money for hospital bills and any court costs and lawyer fees.
That is how "Capitalism" works in the USA, to make certain people rich off the expense of others, even if it is a "Volunteer" just trying to "Help" another person out, that's how it works in the USA.- "Make the lawyers rich"
Yes, it is tough here in the U.S. We sue our medical doctors for tremendous amounts of money which is one of the reasons our health care is 1. very expensive and 2. not as good as most industrial nations.

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