After the winter months, you might notice a number of potholes in your parking lot. This is not uncommon. The freezing of ice in cracks in your pavement causes potholes to spread open.
These fractures can be annoying. They can also be damaging to vehicles. In some situations, potholes expose your company to liability claims.
Your general liability insurance policy is likely to help cover such claims. However, proper maintenance can help to minimize this risk. If it is springtime, or there has been winter warming and freezing, it is important to consider pothole repair.
Are You Responsible For Damages Caused By Potholes?
There's no simple answer when it comes to liability and potholes. Some states have specific rules that limit liability in parking lots. But in most cases, a business must maintain a parking lot that is reasonably safe.
For example, if it snows, you cannot control the presence of slippery conditions in your parking lot. So, your liability is limited.
However, potholes tend to be an obvious and visible problem. If you have potholes and receive a claim about any losses suffered by a third-party, you will need to contact your Dean Heckle & Hill agent to discuss filing your own general liability claim. They can help fill out the claim and tell you if you qualify.
Maintaining Your Lot Is Important
Once a pothole exists, it is up to you to warn your guests of its existence. Place a warning sign near it. For example, you may wish to put a parking lot cone in the pothole.
By providing a warning like this, you minimize the individual's ability to file a claim against you. The warning states you acknowledge the problem, and are taking steps to keep others safe. As such, it's harder for the affected party to claim you were negligent – which is a big part of the claims and payout process.
Next, start working repairing your parking lot. The lot does not have to be perfect, but it should be reasonably safe. It is a good idea to work with a professional that knows your local area well. Ensure the work is performed to the highest standards. Also, be sure to meet any building code requirements.
Your general liability insurance may cover some pothole-related losses. However, you should verify the process for filing a claim. You should also know what your state's laws are in regards to liability in parking lots. This can help ensure your property is safe.
Speak to your Dean Heckle & Hill agent about your risks. Our agents are ready and willing to help answer the questions you might have.