How To Protect Your Business From A Personal Injury Lawsuit

August 25 2020 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • If you’ve ever wondered about personal injuries for your business an how to protect yourself from liability, a personal injury lawyer will have a unique perspective. In this article, we’ll help business owners learn about practical steps to take to protect customers from harm on his or her property – while at the same time staying free from liability if an unfortunate accident does happen.

    Slip-and-falls, injuries caused by a falling object, or elevator malfunction incidents are just a few examples of mishaps that can happen to a person in a commercial establishment. Every year, shopping malls, retail stores, hotels, and other businesses in the US are targeted by thousands of lawsuits in which victims of such accidents seek damages for their injuries from their owners or managers.

    In some cases, these lawsuits end in costly settlements, entailing considerable monetary losses to the company. At other times, a jury may give a verdict favorable to the plaintiff, ordering a business deemed at fault to pay a compensation amount so high that it effectively ends in the business’ bankruptcy. 

    Customers and patrons injured on a commercially owned property are indeed in a position to file compensation claims against the owners or managers of the establishment. According to premises liability laws, property owners have a duty to ensure safe conditions on their properties and make reasonable efforts to prevent accidents. Failure to do so may count as negligence, give rise to liability, and become the basis for a valid legal claim or lawsuit in case of an injury.

    It is evident, then, that business owners have both the moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of those who visit their establishments. Negligence in this regard can damage a business’s reputation as well as their bottom line. In this article, we will take a closer look at simple measures business owners can take to limit the risk of accidents in their establishments and injury-proof their businesses.

    Preventing Slip-and-Fall Injuries

    Slip-and-fall injuries are one of the most common reasons for premises liability claims and lawsuits. In the US, falls are reported to be the leading cause of unintentional injuries. Statistics show that each year, more than 800,000 people are hospitalized due to fall injuries. Many slip-and-fall accidents no doubt happen on the premises of commercial establishments both within and outside of the actual property. Therefore, providing adequate accident protection in business should first and foremost take into consideration slip-and-fall risks.

    Of course, avoiding a slip-and-fall lawsuit entirely may be impossible; that doesn’t mean that a business owner will be liable for any and all mishaps that may happen on his or her commercial property. Still, state and national laws impose on owners certain reasonable standards of protection. Following these standards may include procedures of proper evaluation of risks as prevention methods.

    Here are some examples of the most common actions a commercial property owner should take to prevent slip-and-fall accidents:

    • Regularly inspect carpets for tears that may cause slip-and-falls
    • Require maintenance workers to clearly mark wet floors with appropriate signs
    • Maintain tiled corridors as well as pavement on and around the property in good condition; regularly check for any structural damage such as cracks or uneven surfaces that can lead to accidents
    • In the winter, make sure to maintain sidewalks on your property so they remain clean and free of snow and ice; in the fall, you may check to make sure that slippery leaves don’t pose a threat

    Inspect for Other Dangerous Conditions

    While slip-and-falls may be one of the most common kinds of accidents that can lead to premises liability claims, they are certainly not the only ones. Business owners need to make sure to prevent other kinds of dangerous conditions that may result in a wide variety of different mishaps and entail liability. 

    Here are a few examples of actions owners can take to prevent other incidents:

    • Inspect and maintain the inner structure of the building in accordance with the building code and other regulations to guard against structural damage.
    • Arrange for the inspection of the facade of your establishment and keep it in good condition. Prevent any debris from falling and injuring passersby and pedestrians. Pedestrian accident lawyers can hold you responsible.
    • Maintain sidewalks on your property free from debris.
    • Enforce strict rules of conduct and duties for your employees. For example, if you keep large quantities of products and merchandise on tall shelves, make sure you have a system in place to keep items from falling from a shelf and injuring a customer.

    Business Owner Liability for the Actions of Third Parties

    Some business owners may be unaware that in addition to being liable for accidents caused by dangerous conditions, they may also be found liable for the actions of third parties. For example, as employers, business owners may be targeted in lawsuits for accidents and injuries caused by their employees as long as the accident happened while the employee was hurt while engaging in actions within his or her scope of work.

    Business owners may even be liable for injuries that occurred as a result of a crime that happened on the property they own. The victim of a crime may argue that the owner was negligent in providing adequate security measures that could have prevented the crime. However, for the victim to successfully prove a negligent security claim, the crime must be considered foreseeable. In practical terms, this means that such a crime or a similar one has already happened before on the premises or in the area where the business is located.

    Obtain General Liability Insurance

    At times, business owners may fail to remove a danger on their property that they should have been aware of; accidents and injuries may occur despite earnest efforts to avoid them. Therefore, the owner of any business with regular customer traffic on its premises will do well to obtain general liability insurance. Then, when an accident happens and an injured person files a lawsuit against the business, compensation for the victim will be covered by the insurance, preventing the business from losing money.

    Protecting both employees and customers from any dangerous condition that may cause injuries is no doubt an important obligation that all business owners must take seriously. Failure to be diligent in this regard may result in unnecessary mishaps, lawsuits, and great financial losses to the company. Therefore, each business should take reasonable steps to prevent accidents and have a solid contingency plan if they inadvertently become liable for a mishap on their property.

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