Personal injury lawsuits can have a devastating impact on small businesses.
Even an unfounded lawsuit can drain valuable time and resources; in 2022, false claims cost businesses over $2 billion. With the right prevention strategies, however, businesses can reduce the risk of facing such a lawsuit. This article outlines several key steps to help protect your business from personal injury legal claims.
Conduct Regular Safety Audits
The first crucial step to avoid injury lawsuits is to proactively identify potential hazards before they result in incidents. Conduct regular safety audits of your business facilities, operations, equipment, and employee procedures. These audits examine the physical premises, employee training protocols, material handling processes, machinery safety features, and other factors. Document all findings and their resolutions. Having a paper trail of your safety reviews demonstrates you responsibly address dangers in your workplace.
Keep Detailed Accident Reports
Unfortunately, injuries still may occur despite the most vigilant prevention efforts. When an accident happens, it is vital to produce accurate, comprehensive incident reports. Include photos of the scene, written witness statements, contact details of those involved, and other pertinent details. Describe exactly what happened and the nature of the resulting injuries. Maintaining detailed records helps dispute invalid injury claims and proves you fully investigated all incidents.
Consult with Vendors on Insurance Needs
Mitigating risk through ample insurance is another shield against excessive liability. Consult with a commercial insurance vendor or broker to ensure your policies offer sufficient coverage for different personal injury scenarios. For example, it may be prudent to carry higher liability limits in case a customer or vendor files a costly negligence lawsuit for injuries sustained on your property. An insurance professional can advise on appropriate types and levels of coverage to minimize your financial exposure in such events.
Display Clear Signage and Warnings
Simple, low-cost measures like installing visible warning signs about hazards also limit injury liability claims. For example, if you have a retail store, place “wet floor” signs by spill areas or clearly indicate changes in floor levels with yellow tape. For manufacturing and warehouse operations, remind workers and visitors to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in designated zones through prominent posters. The goal is to conspicuously advise those on the premises about inherent dangers, so they consciously proceed with due caution.
Enforce Stringent Safety Protocols
Finally, you must move beyond superficial warning signs by actively enforcing stringent safety protocols. Provide all staff with regular training on correctly operating hazardous equipment, following material handling procedures, wearing necessary PPE, and reporting unsafe conditions immediately. Similarly, ensure customers, vendors, and other visitors adhere to sensible rules that protect their own safety when on your property. Strict uniform observance and enforcement of prudent safety practices makes personal injury occurrences much less frequent.
Although no organization can completely prevent injuries, implementing these five fundamental measures greatly reduces such risks – along with the possibility of resultant lawsuits. Small investments of time and resources provide tremendous dividends by shielding your business from the hardship of an injury-related legal claim. If you still end up facing such a lawsuit, remember to consult with a personal injury lawyer to protect your interests.
With diligent preparation, however, you can spare your company the troublesome burden of litigation, which could cost upwards of $54k for a premises liability claim.