It’s important for small business owners to take steps to protect against personal injury lawsuits. The following are five ways a small business owner can prevent accidents and injuries that often result in personal injury claims.
1) Make Sure to Buy Small Business Insurance
When you are starting a small business or are expanding your current business, it is extremely important to buy small business insurance. Many small business owners do not know what kind of insurance to purchase, and thinking about insurance needs is often among the last concerns of a person who is dealing with dozens of other issues involved in establishing a profitable business. However, paying for business insurance can provide you with necessary coverage in the event you are sued by a customer or another person on your premises.
Generally speaking, general liability insurance is what will protect you in the event you are facing a personal injury lawsuit. It can cover the cost of your personal injury lawyer, as well as the costs to settle your case (or to pay damages following a jury verdict). It is important to pay careful attention to your small business insurance—sometimes general liability insurance is part of a larger small business package, and sometimes it needs to be purchased separately.
2) Keep Your Office, Restaurant, or Retail Establishment Organized and Clean
One of the most common reasons for personal injury lawsuits against small businesses are slip, trip, and fall accidents. The National Safety Council (NSC) explains that such premises liability claims can arise when a customer or a vendor slips and falls on a liquid spill in your restaurant, or when a customer or vendor trips and falls because of a piece of loose carpeting or clutter in the walkway.
To avoid a premises liability lawsuit, you should ensure that your walkways and doorways are free of clutter and that you quickly clean up any liquid spills or slick areas before someone can slip and fall.
3) Have a Plan in Place to Deal with Injury Hazards
In the event an accident does happen, it is important to have a plan in place so that one accident does not lead to another, and so that injuries in an initial accident are not worsened because of mismanagement.
4) Provide Training for Your Employees in Avoiding Accidents and Managing Emergency Situations
Workplace safety training is extremely important, whether you have one employee or dozens of employees at your small business. From safety training to prevent slips and falls to safety training designed to help your employees manage a situation involving workplace violence, it is important to conduct required trainings early and regularly.
By training your employees to avoid dangerous situations as well as to manage them properly in the event they do occur, you may be able to limit your liability in the long run.
5) Pay Attention to Overall Building Maintenance
In addition to regularly assessing safety risks in your particular space, if you have a commercial lease for a space in a larger building, it is important to consider building maintenance in preventing personal injury lawsuits. For instance, do the lights leading out to the parking lot need to be changed to prevent a customer or vendor from tripping and falling, or to prevent a negligent security claim? Does the stairway leading up to your retail establishment need to be repaired to prevent a trip and fall on the staircase?
Any hazards within the building in which you run your business could result in a personal injury lawsuit against your company. By ensuring that the building is maintained, you may be able to prevent a claim.
This guest post is courtesy of Hank Stout. Hank is a personal injury lawyer in Houston, Texas. After working several years in BigLaw, he co-founded the law firm of Sutliff & Stout. He has been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer (2014-2017), Texas Super Lawyers (Rising Stars – 2012-2014), Houston Top Lawyers – H Magazine (2013-2017), and Houston Top Lawyer – Houstonia Magazine (2013-2017).