Accident And Injury Claims: Is Your Business Protected?

by gclatworthy on February 3, 2013

  • SumoMe

More and more people are realizing their dreams every day in America by opening their own small business. Many of them historically fail within a few years, but with a dream and strong work ethic, the sky is literally the limit for business owners. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to consider the fact that they could be sued for injuries or accidents that occur involving their business, and this makes it absolutely essential for every business owner to know how to protect themselves. 

Consequences of Accident Claims Against a Business

There are numerous consequences that a business will face if they’re sued. There is definitely going to be a financial loss regardless of whether the insurance company decides to pay out on the injury or goes to court over the issue. Whenever an insurance company realizes that there is a danger involved in a certain business, they will very likely raise that company’s insurance rates.

The aforementioned loss, however, is really a best case scenario. Some business owners fail to have adequate insurance and protections in place to prevent themselves from facing financial ruin. A business owner who doesn’t properly insure their company could very likely lose the entire business during a lawsuit and could even face losses to their personal wealth. Unfortunately, a good amount of companies have to shut their doors not merely because the business model was left wanting, but because they face ruin when their financial losses accrue quickly due to not having proper legal protections in place.

Legal Protections for Businesses

There are definitely things that a company can do to legally protect itself. This will of course vary by industry. The best advice is to have any dangers clearly marked or warned against, such as wet floors. Potential hazards should also be minimized at all costs. Since most upright business people do this anyway, they need to further make sure that they have proper insurance coverage.

General and Premises Liability Insurance

These types of insurance is necessary even if a person has no employees and runs their business from their home. Both will protect them in the case of a third party alleging that they were injured by an employee, product or service of the company or they were injured whilst on the company’s premises. Price Benowitz LLP of Virginia points out that, “Premises liability refers to a property owner’s responsibility for maintaining a safe environment, reducing risks to visitors, guests, and customers. If negligence causes injury, the property owner can be held liable for compensation to the injured victim.”

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Any business owner who employs other people will need to get worker’s compensation insurance. This type of insurance is actually meant to prevent litigation between workers and their employers. This insurance will pay out on an accident regardless of whether it was the fault of the employee, employer or other party.

Data Breach Insurance

Any company that keeps the personal or financial information of employees or customers needs a data breach policy. In the event that a third party or rogue employee steals this sensitive information, a data breach policy will help cover the massive financial losses that could quickly accrue.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

Any business owner who uses vehicles for their business needs to secure commercial vehicle insurance. This is true even if an individual uses their personal vehicle for business purposes. An accident that occurs in the line of work duties will be sufficient cause for a personal vehicle insurance policy to not pay out.

Steps to take after Being Sued

There are several steps that a business owner should take after finding out that they’re being sued. The first step should always be to contact an attorney. This isn’t a common car accident or lawsuit over past due rent; it is a serious legal matter that could result in the complete loss of a company. Keep in mind that bringing in an attorney, however, isn’t the final step in handling the situation.

Attorneys will need some information from the business owner in question, so they should work towards getting all of this information quickly. This will definitely include the contact information of all witnesses and interested parties to the suit. A written statement of the owner’s position should also be prepared. All of this information should be copied and shared with the attorney, ensuring that they can begin making the proper moves to minimize damages.

Accident and injury claims can literally force a company into bankruptcy if it’s not properly prepared. This is a litigation happy world that we currently live in, so any business owner should expect to be sued by someone who is either legitimately injured or is just looking for a quick payday. Luckily, with a little foreknowledge, any business owner can easily protect themselves and their company from financial ruin. 

Georgina Clatworthy is a former legal blog editor and now writes informative posts on various aspects of U.S law. Price Benowitz LLP is a Virginia based law firm providing legal services to those injured by the negligent acts of another party. Business owners can be held accountable for accidents and injuries which occur on their premises, as well as paying compensation for all injuries related to the accident, including associated expenses.

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