Startups have a lot to worry about. From growth to marketing strategies, there’s a lot on your plate. It’s easy to forget about things like premises liability when you have your sights set on success.
But if you run a business from a physical location, you should take steps to protect your company from premises liability claims.
1. Get the Right Insurance Coverage.
Not all accidents can be prevented. That’s where insurance comes in. The right insurance coverage will protect your business should a client or customer file a liability claim.
If you run a business that invites the public onto your doorstep – whether it’s customers, vendors, clients, delivery people or other visitors – you should have general liability insurance.
Should someone be injured on your business’s property, he or she may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In addition to providing coverage for these damages, general liability insurance will also provide coverage for defending these claims.
Without adequate insurance, your business will be liable to cover these damages out of pocket. Depending on the extent of the injuries and damages, a claim can bankrupt a startup.
2. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect.
Prevention is the key to protecting your business from premises liability claims. Make sure that both you and your employees routinely inspect the premises for potentially dangerous conditions.
Taking the time to inspect the property may take time away from productive tasks, but it can go a long way in finding potential liabilities before they’re discovered by customers or employees.
3. Correct Unsafe Conditions Immediately.
Take steps to correct unsafe conditions as soon as they’re discovered or even suspected. Employees should not assume that someone else will take care of cleaning up a spill or clear the walkaway of ice or snow.
To prevent confusion, implement clear policies that establish who will be in charge of such tasks. This way, employees know exactly what to do in these situations.
4. Warn Patrons.
If you are unable to correct a dangerous condition, display a sign that warns patrons of the condition and to avoid the hazard until it’s fixed.
For example, a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign should be placed on floors that are slippery from rain or cleaning.
“Slip and fall accidents can be caused by soapy water on the floor, food spills in the supermarket, foreign objects obstructing a walking path, or stairs that weren’t maintained properly, among others,” says Bogdan Martinovich. “These cases involve injuries sustained by falling on someone else’s property. Property owners have a responsibility to keep their property free of hazards that can cause falls.”
5. Take Preventative Measures.
The best way to avoid premises liability claims is to take preventative measures. Establish clear and precise safety procedures and protocols so that employees and management can effectively correct unsafe conditions.
Make sure that all employees are on the same page about these procedures and protocols. Training may be required, but will be a worthwhile expense to prevent future claims.