When you’ve got a business to run, the last thing you want to think about is a lawsuit. But if you’re not thinking ahead, one of these lawsuits could seriously hurt your business so contact a Tampa premises liability lawyer for help.
Take slip and fall accidents, which are just a small portion of premises liability. These accidents account for 1 million hospital visits each year, and the average cost to defend a slip and fall lawsuit is around $50,000.
Unless you’ve got a spare thousand dollars laying around, you can’t afford one of these lawsuits.
Here, we’re covering everything you need to know about premises liability and what you can do to protect your business from potential lawsuits.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability law is a legal concept that usually comes up in relation to personal injury cases. Usually, this happens when someone was injured as a direct result of a type of unsafe condition on someone else’s property.
Like most personal injury cases, premises liability is heavily based on negligence. In other words, the other side’s lawyer will look to prove that you’re at fault for their client’s injury.
Usually, this amounts to the business owner’s failure to use reasonable care in connection with their property.
Personal Injury vs. Premises Liability
At this point, it’s important to distinguish between personal injury and premises liability. They’re related, but not interchangeable.
Personal injury is on the side of the person who was injured. Let’s say your employee slipped and fell while in the workplace. For them, this would constitute a personal injury lawsuit.
The flipside is premises liability, which is when you (the person getting sued) is liable for someone else’s injury on your property.
Keep in mind, however, that you aren’t necessarily liable every time someone gets injured on your property. Remember, the suit hinges on you having reasonably known that something on your property was a risk to others and failing to do something about it. Freak accidents aren’t your fault.
That said, there are certain things you can do to limit your liability and prevent the possibility of being sued.
General Liability Insurance
Above all else, you should invest in general liability insurance. This is one of the best ways you can ensure that your business is protected.
As the name implies, this type of insurance is designed to protect you against a variety of unknown potential liabilities, like, for example, if damages are filed against you, or if claims arise from bodily injury or property damage.
In this case, general liability insurance would cover the ensuing insurance investigation and attorney fees.
Get an Inspection
However, general liability insurance is designed to protect you once you’ve already been sued or the accident already occurred. It makes your life a lot simpler if you can just avoid the lawsuit altogether.
As such, it’s vital that you get regular inspections for your premises if you aren’t already getting them. This will help you spot any potential problems and fix any current issues to keep both employees and customers safe.
Keep Up with Building Maintenance
It might sound obvious, but you should also stay up-to-date on all your building maintenance tasks.
Luckily, this is something you should be doing anyway since it’s part and parcel of owning a building. Still, checking to make sure your cleaning and maintenance are up to snuff is a good idea. After all, better to be overly cautious than face a lawsuit later on.
If at all possible, it’s a good idea to have maintenance and cleaning happen outside of normal operating hours. This way, it doesn’t hamper productivity and it doesn’t put your employees at undue risk (like slipping on a freshly mopped floor and spraining their ankle).
Train and Educate
We’ve talked a lot about keeping your employees safe, but the truth is, your employees are as much a part of building safety as you are.
As such, it’s vital that you take the time to adequately train all of your employees on proper safety measures and procedures.
When you do this, pay attention to potential hazards that your employees may have to deal with. For example, if they operate machinery, they should have proper training on how to operate that machinery, and the training should be revisited on a regular basis.
However, employee safety also applies to smaller things, like how to lift a box without injuring your back. Or, if you use company cars, talk about getting your tires and oil checked in the company meeting.
If you need ideas, outsource. At your next meeting, ask your employees what safety measures they think should be reviewed during these training sessions.
Know-How to Handle an Accident
Now, if you do everything you’re supposed to do and an accident still happens, it’s important to know how to handle the situation.
Before you do anything else, call for emergency help, and assist the person in any way you need to. You should also record the accident and take statements from anyone on the scene in case you need to use them later. Make sure to take the person’s name and contact information if they do give a statement.
From there, get in touch with your lawyer, just in case. Hopefully, you won’t need to use them, but it’s better to be prepared.
If You Face a Premises Liability Lawsuit
If you do face a premises liability lawsuit, you need a lawyer that will fight for your business. That’s where we come in.