FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 5, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27
THE PROPER PIGEONHOLE
Q: In my employer’s parking lot, I slipped and fell on a patch of ice. I have
received workers’ compensation, and understand that I cannot sue my employer. But
what about the company that supposedly had plowed this parking lot? Maybe it did not
put down enough salt.
A: Assuming that your employer had entered into a contract with someone to
provide snow removal services, the contract does not automatically render the plower
liable in tort for the personal injuries of a third party like yourself.
For you to have the benefit of this contract, your attorney generally must
prove at least one of the following scenarios. (1) Failing to exercise reasonable care in
the performance of its duties, the plower launched a force or instrument of harm. (2)
You relied to your detriment on the continued performance of the plower’s duties. (3)
The plower had entirely displaced your employer’s duty to maintain the premises safely.
If you do not quite understand what I mean by these three possibilities, you
are not alone. Often, the courts too must struggle with the concepts, in relation to the
case at hand. This leaves much to the skill of your attorney in fitting the case into the
Often, your attorney will succeed with the first category: by showing that the
plower had launched a force or instrument of harm – e.g. by piling snow on the side of
the lot and then failing to move that snow even further away. Your attorney will
marshal evidence that then the temperature rose enough for the snow to melt, and the
water flowed out to the spot of your fall, where it refroze to become the black ice that you
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