Be aware your business can be sued

One of the most difficult situations to face as a business owner is the possibility of being sued due to damage to another person's property or injury to a person.

Liability claims can come from anywhere. We have seen falls and injuries to customers or suppliers visiting a business. These are the most well known types of claims. For example:

  • We have had claims where a consultant has left their bag on the ground and an employee of the client he was visiting has tripped over it twisting the knee requiring a knee construction.
  • We have had an IT consultant knock his coffee over into a server causing extensive damage.
  • We have had customers injured visiting a shop and a light fitting has fallen out of the ceiling hitting them on the head.
  • We have had an outbreak of food poisoning in a Café injuring 31 people
  • We have had tenants suing the property owner for water leaks coming in through the roof damaging electronic equipment, desks and carpet.

They can and do happen! In fact it is either a liability claim or a business interruption claim where your business can easily become insolvent if not insured.

Any business that is manufacturing or repairing products, or those serving or selling food items are at risk if those products cause an injury or property damage to another person. Just recently we heard about 161 school Principals at a conference in the Brisbane Convention centre becoming ill from food served to them. Severe reactions to food can cause very serious injury or even loss of life.

Briefly I want to provide an outline of managing liability risks, but a more comprehensive discussion on this area can be found at our website by the following link.

Preparation is Key - have a plan in place to deal with potential liability claims. This can include a crisis management plan. Some of these areas include:

Employee Training.

o   Inspect and clean display area and public areas regularly.

o   Employees need to know how to call emergency services or key company personnel,

o   If an incident occurs not to discuss or admit company liability.

Documentation.- Employees should have access to incident report forms and who to pass them on to.

Appropriate Insurance – Having the mostappropriate insurance in place is vital. Your Insurance Broker is your trusted adviser on these areas of risk and can find the best insurance deal for you. This means sufficient cover for most losses or the particular risk most likely to occur.

Surveillance and Monitoring. Liability claims can be limited by surveillance and monitoring. Public areas can be monitored by cameras. Cameras have become so cheap and such high resolution, having a recording of the incident that has occurred can assist greatly in managing the matter

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