Business owners often want to know if they’ll be liable for a falling ice dam. The quick answer is: yes. Business owners should want to remedy the situation as soon as possible since they are always liable for injuries that occur on their own premises.
But there are circumstances that can shield a business from being liable.
A hypothetical situation, such as the one listed below, may or may not expose a business to a legal process.
- If a business owner currently rents a building.
- The business owner has a patron injured by a falling ice dam.
In this case, the patron may be able to sue both the building owner and the business owner. The business owner may be able to remove their liability if they can prove that they alerted the building’s owner of the ice dam problems and the problems were not remedied. Since the business does not own the building, it may be the responsibility of the building’s owner to handle all repairs to the outside of the building to ensure that it is safe.
However, for the majority of the cases, the person occupying the building is liable for injuries that occur on the property. If the property owner has stipulations within the contract that states they will upkeep the building, this is where the law becomes more difficult to decipher. The major issue is the question of who retains control of the property’s roof.
In some cases, the tenant or business will be required to take control of the outside of the building.
This means that the tenant takes the liability for any injuries that occur, but there are circumstances where the building’s owner will retain control of the building’s upkeep. In this case, the liability would be focused on the building’s owner. With that said, a person that is injured will likely try to sue both parties for liability to ensure that they have the highest probability recouping 100% of direct and indirect injury related expenses.
It becomes even more complex when the business alerted the owner of the building that ice dams have occurred. This would likely be brought up within the trial, and may be used as proof that the owner of the building neglected their duty to correct the issue.
As a business owner, it’s best to take out liability insurance so that if injuries do occur on the property, your insurance company will be able to satisfy the claim. Ice dam liability may or may not be part of your policy, and you want to ensure that coverage is in place for ice dam injuries that may occur. Of course the best action is to take preventative steps so that ice dams cannot develop. Period.
Prevent Ice Dam Injuries
With HotEdge, you will never need to worry about ice dams falling and causing injuries on your property. Our roof ice melt systems are designed to stop ice dams before they even form. Call (800) 411-3296 today to learn more.