No matter what you do to ensure customers’ safety on your premises, it is impossible to prevent accidents entirely. In the unfortunate event of an accident, you could be held liable for resulting damages.
In other words, you may have to pay victims lots of cash in compensation and sometimes deal with a tainted business image. But you can avoid all that if you understand the impact of personal injury lawsuits and how to protect your business.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Can Get You Out of Business
As a premises owner, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of all the visitors who legally come to your business.
If your actions or inactions cause them harm while at your premises, they could file a personal injury lawsuit against your business. In some circumstances, the cost of damages can be enough to bring your business to its knees, especially if you are a startup.
If you have suffered harm from an accident in a local business, you should consider filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, it would be best to involve lawyers from a reputable law firm such as The Levin Firm to increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
Protecting Your Business from Liability
According to the Institutes for Legal Reform, businesses paid out $343.2 billion in lawsuits. Small businesses paid out 53% of this figure.
The best way to stay safe from such lawsuits is to carry a premises liability insurance cover. Having this coverage means that the liability you would have otherwise taken as a business goes to the insurer.
Premises liability coverage is part of general liability cover for bigger businesses, but you can get it as standalone coverage. Usually, this coverage covers injuries and property damage suffered by people who legally visit your premises.
However, there are some exclusions which include:
- Injuries sustained through professional malpractice, for example, if the premises is a hospital.
- Employee injuries
- Your business’ property damage
What To Do When a Customer Is Hurt at Your Premises
If a customer suffers harm after an accident at your premises, what you do can significantly impact the outcomes of a lawsuit.
Below is a list of the things you may want to do immediately after an accident:
- Get medical help
After an accident, the first thing to do is get the affected customer medical help by calling emergency services. The earlier they get treatment, the higher the chances of quick recovery, which can help limit damages if you are found liable for the injuries.
- Gather evidence
As you await first responders, you can document the scene by taking photos and video footage of the scene, including any physical injuries on the customer. Having visual evidence of the scene can help you in building your case. If you have CCTV installed on your premises, you may also want to ensure that the files are kept safe to serve as evidence.
- Inform your insurer
If you have premises liability coverage, you must inform your insurer immediately. Often insurers will require policy carriers not to admit responsibility. So never accept responsibility even when it seems obvious. Instead, leave liability determination to your insurer and their lawyers.
For a business to be held liable for injuries, the claimant must prove that three elements;
- The business owed them a duty of care
- The establishment breached that duty
- The breach caused harm
If any of these elements is lacking or the customer’s negligence resulted in their accident, you may not be liable for the damages.
For example, if a customer was distracted while driving into your premises and got into an accident, they may be responsible for the injuries suffered by others and their property.