Personal injury law suits are rampant in our society. For any business, large or small, the question is when does a claimant have a good case? Given the dramatic rise of personal injury claims it would do well for any business to concern itself with what steps can be taken to limit liability.
What is Your Business’s Liability?
Businesses have a general duty of care regarding their space.
If injury is caused to a visitor/employee as a result of the business’s negligence it could be held libel:
- if it realized, or should have realized, there was a risk that could cause injury but failed to act to reduce that risk.
- this applies not only to personal injury cases, but those involving sexual harassment, workman’s compensation, fraud, and other claims.
What is Reasonable Action?
This causal requirement also depends upon how a reasonable person would have acted. This means that if the risk was small and the possibility of it causing injury remote, then the business may not be held libel. Particularly if it can showed that ‘not acting’ was a reasonable course of action. The question is: did the business act reasonably and not negligently?
If the business is a tenant of the premises, than the lease should make clear which of the areas used by visitors is the responsibility of the tenant to maintain and care for. Risks can not be eliminated. However, adopting a commonsense approach will help in reducing the risk of claims. Instruct staff to report problems and make sure the public is warned of any dangers which cannot be immediately removed.
Finally, don’t panic! If a claim is received, proving negligence isn’t always straight-forward and a claim may even be seen as opportunistic. It could also be made against the wrong party if the terms of the lease haven’t yet been checked.
Remember: Claims can be for Workman’s Compensation, Sexual Harassment, Bodily Injury, Fraud, and other issues. Be prepared and make sure your have some liability insurance.
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