Starting a business is an exciting undertaking, but in the midst of setting everything in order, it’s easy to overlook some of your company’s vulnerabilities – and that can have serious consequences. The fact is, if you’re not properly prepared, your business can be subject to a personal injury lawsuit before you’ve even opened your doors.
Business Insurance Basics
Businesses are sued for a range of reasons, some of which are related to their services, such as those targeting a faulty product, and others of which are essentially equal opportunity lawsuits, like slip-and-fall suits resulting from failure to clear the ice off your sidewalk. And though you may not be able to prevent lawsuits altogether, you can take the financial sting out of complaints by getting a business insurance policy as soon as your incorporate.
Business insurance, also known as commercial insurance, typically covers three different areas: liability, property, and worker’s compensation. In the case of most lawsuits, it’s the liability component that applies. The other two parts cover damage to your business’s property and injuries sustained by workers on the job.
Of Injuries And Accidents
One of the most important reasons you need an insurance company backing your business is that if someone is injured on your property or by one of your products, their personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company representing your business. You should never try to negotiate with a victim’s lawyers on your own – you’re likely to say something that can compromise your case. Your insurance representative, however, understands how to minimize your liability and how much you ultimately pay.
Get Insurance Advice
When setting up your office or retail space, it’s not enough just to have insurance. No, you should also talk to your insurance provider to be certain that you’re doing everything possible to minimize your liability. For example, different legal responsibilities apply to different types of visitors. Invitees, your customers, are covered by a duty of care; they should be warned against hazards like wet floors, ongoing construction, or hard to see steps.
The next category, licensees, consists of those who are visiting for a brief time but aren’t contractually connected to your business. They’re welcome to be there, but don’t have a claim on the space. Similar to invitees, these individuals should be protected and warned about dangers. Your insurance provider will recommend appropriate lighting, using security in large, crowded venues, installing clear signage, and even ejecting those who are creating dangerous circumstances for themselves or others.
The final category, trespassers, have very limited rights if they are on your property. The one exception: you can’t set up traps or hazards with the goal of injuring trespassers. Your insurance provider can help you identify appropriate barriers, like security grates, alarms, and cameras. You can protect your property without hurting anyone.
As a business owner, you need to highly aware of potential dangers that could impact your customers. From clearing ice off the sidewalk to ensuring your steps aren’t wet on a rainy day, minimizing your company’s liability is often as easy as using your common sense. No matter how cautious you are, though, it’s critical to have your insurance provider on your side. They’re your unseen business party, and they want you to succeed.