Ask any small business owner out there whether they take precautions to protect their customers and employees, and the answer will undoubtedly be a resounding yes, and they probably mean it too. That’s because every small business owner out there does take reasonable steps to ensure their workplace and offices are safe and healthy for everyone who visits them. This might not be enough, however, to protect you against the type of professional “victim” who turns up daily in a litigation search, and there are lots of legal horror stories out there to prove it. Here’s why.
Liability Is Not the Same as Fault
When you own and operate a business, you have certain automatic liability for everything that happens on your premises, and that is not necessarily the same thing as something being your fault.
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you take every reasonable proportion to ensure that your building is a safe place for staff and customers. However, one day, a customer carrying an umbrella comes in from the rain, and as they close their umbrella, water drips on the floor.
Before anyone has a chance to clean up the mess, another customer comes in, and slips on the water on the floor. While it’s not your fault that the water was there, if they are injured, you may still find yourself on the hook for their medical bills, and that’s the difference between liability and fault.
Protecting Your Business
As the scenario above suggests, even if you are diligent and cautious, you can still find yourself liable for medical or personal injury costs if someone gets injured on your premises, even when it’s no fault of your own.
The best way to protect yourself from this sort of claim is to invest in what is known as public liability insurance. This is insurance that protects you against claims like this, in the event that someone does get hurt.
It’s a good idea to have an insurance broker or lawyer review your existing insurance policies too, to make sure you have adequate cover, and that you’re not going to be charged extra high deductibles, or worse, not be covered should something go wrong.
Beware the Professional Victim
While we’d all like to believe that everyone is mostly honest and above board, there are people out there who actively seek out situations where they might be able to make claims against companies for injuries or other reasons. These professional victims can be hard to spot, even though they may have successfully claimed for similar situations from other businesses.
This is why, if you do find yourself the target of a claim for accident or injury on your business premises, you should always consider having doing a litigation search on the claimant as part of your claim investigation process.
If your due diligence investigation services do turn up any suspect history of claims, you may find that you can save a bundle on the settlement and your insurance policy. Which would definitely offset any cost involved in hiring a professional firm to check details for you.