In the Know: Business Liability Loss Prevention and Claims

  

Protecting Your Business and Its Customers
As a business owner, your main focus is naturally on serving your customers and maximizing profits. However, you must also consider the need to protect your customers and your business from harm and possible legal litigation. In addition to formulating rules to maximize safety, insurance and other contingency plans should be in place to deal with potential problems.

Common areas of potential liability include damage to a job site where you or your workers are assigned, damage to property belonging to third parties and injuries to your workers, clients or third parties in or around your office or at your job site. Protect yourself against property damage claims with general liability insurance. In addition, instituting liability loss prevention measures can minimize risks. Your insurance broker can help you determine the type and amount of coverage that you need.

Risk Management and Preventing Legal Liability
One major component in minimizing your risk of legal liability is to institute rules of conduct for workers and contractors to follow in your place of business or at a worksite.  Common sense precautions such as maintaining regular maintenance and conducting periodic inspections work hand in hand with established workplace rules. Failure to take such basic measures can leave your company vulnerable to claims of negligence, which can result in expensive financial compensation for victims who pursue legal action.

Conduct a walkthrough of your premises with a safety expert to uncover possible areas of risk. If possible, address every possible area of risk. However, f your budget is tight, work with the safety expert to determine which risks post the most immediate danger and concentrate available funds on correcting those areas of potential danger.

Maintaining security of your company’s property and protecting customers and clients can be accomplished by establishing clearly marked secure storage or warehouse areas which are restricted to authorized personnel. Keep public areas tidy and clear of clutter and debris to make them more inviting as well as safer.  Basic safety measures such as sufficient lighting for parking areas and sidewalks and clearing walkways of snow and ice should be standard operating procedure at your place of business and at any job site.

If your company handles the property of clients or customers (for instance, a repair shop), perform an initial inspection of the property in the presence of customers to prevent possible disputes about damage caused by your workers. Generate a written and photographic record for customers and maintain copies for your records. Conduct a second inspection in the presence of customers when you return the property, generating copies of the results for customers and for your own records.

When Things Go Wrong
If serious injury is involved, the first priority should be to obtain immediate medical attention for victims. The second step should be to work with first responders to create an accurate accident report, including photographs of the scene. Pertinent information includes the date and time of the accident, the names and contact information of any persons involved, as well names and contact information for possible witnesses, along with the details of the accident. Your insurance claims adjuster as well as your legal counsel will also want to know wheat preventative measures were in place at the time of the accident, and if these measures were followed properly.

George Nesler ran his own business for many years. Now retired, he enjoys helping others starting out by sharing his insights online.

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