Have you ever noticed the yellow signs in stores warning of a wet floor? They serve a fundamental purpose. Those signs are to prevent a customer from walking on a damp floor and falling. It may seem overly cautious, but many small business owners don't realize that when someone slips and falls on their premises, they are liable.
Premises liability cases can cause major headaches for a small business. Even if you don't own the building and you rent the space for your business, the owner usually has an indemnification clause in the lease. It's a contractual transfer of risk that's passed on to the lessee.
What exactly is "premises liability"? It's legal terminology that refers to any injury that resulted from a defective or unsafe condition. It could be a wet floor or bad lighting that causes a visitor to fall. It also could be an icy parking lot. Regardless of the cause, a fall can generate thousands of dollars in medical expenses for an injured back or a broken limb.
A lawsuit can also cause bad publicity for your business. Protecting your business is extremely important. There are several ways to protect yourself from a lawsuit should some become injured on your property. If a hazard is spotted, it's important to take immediate action and remedy the situation.
Moreover, the owner has to train the employees so they will know how to handle these circumstances. Also, it is crucial to warn employees, customers, and other visitors about the potential hazards. General liability insurance is critical to protecting your business from a costly lawsuit. Training your employees to fix or warn of a hazardous condition is also wise.
If you own a retail establishment, you may want to consider hiring a safety monitor to periodically walk throughout the store, locate, and resolve possible safety matters. If you can’t hire someone full-time, consider rotating the responsibility among existing staff.
If you are a small business owner and you find yourself facing a premises liability claim or lawsuit, contact us. With our experience and expertise, we can help you get the best results. We will explore all various defense options and assist in protecting your company’s liability exposure.