What Can Businesses Do To Avoid A Day In Civil Court?
What is the corporate responsibility that businesses have to their customers? One would imagine that a company has a responsibility to provide a service that benefits its customers and provide a business environment that is free from potential personal injury situations. But how can a company prevent accidents such as slip and falls that can cause injury to customers and employees? Businesses can take several steps to protect their customers and to hopefully avoid too many personal injury lawsuits.
Protecting The Right People
Personal injury victims come in many forms and their injuries can cause them to suffer life-long pain and even death.However, is a business responsible for protecting everyone from injuries due to accidents? Actually, the answer is no. When someone enters a store or other business, then it is reasonable for that person to expect that they will not experience any physical injuries. The person who randomly enters a business is just as deserving of good treatment as a person who was invited by the business owner to the property.
A trespasser is someone who enters a business through doors that are clearly marked as not to be used or someone who has been banned from the premises and still enters regardless. When someone is considered a trespasser, they are not afforded the same right to expect the best treatment from the business owner as an invited customer would.
Situations That Create Personal Injury Lawsuits
In order to prevent litigation, a business must be able to identify and correct the situations that lead to lawsuits. Some of the more common dangers that a business owner is directly responsible for include:
- Damaged walkways and parking lots that are not either repaired or properly marked as dangerous
- Liquids or other substances on floors that create slip and fall situations
- Worn rugs and mats at entranceways that create tripping hazards
- A lack of proper rugs in areas where liquids can accumulate
- A lack of warning signs letting customers know to avoid dangerous areas
Avoiding Personal Injury Situations
There is a lot that goes into preventing injuries to customers that if neglected can lead to personal injury lawsuits. Property owners are expected to make repairs on their premises as quickly as possible to avoid dangerous situations. They need to have routine maintenance on the premise, remove liquids in walkways, and make sure the property is in good physical condition. In addition, they need to put up proper signage to warn customers and employees of dangerous areas.
A business that does all of these activities on a regular basis will significantly lower its chances of being mentioned in a personal injury lawsuit. It is also important to remember that businesses are not expected by any court to be all-knowing and everywhere at once. If something spills on a slick floor and someone falls immediately after the spill, it is unreasonable to think that there is a corporate responsibility to compensate the victim. A business must be given reasonable time to know of a new dangerous situation(s), then react and remedy it as quickly as possible.
Protection At A Financial Level
Even the most safety conscious businesses can find themselves getting hit with a lawsuit, and that is where business liability insurance comes into play. Any business that operates without business liability insurance would be responsible for paying its own legal fees and paying the settlement to the victim. With business liability insurance, the company only has to pay its insurance premiums to be financially protected from accidents such as a slip and fall.
Does that mean that businesses with business liability insurance can put aside corporate responsibility when it comes to safety? No, a business that is consistently losing lawsuits due to its lack of proper building maintenance and adherence to safety regulations will find its insurance premiums constantly going up. After a while, that business will find it almost impossible to get business liability insurance, and that opens the company up to lawsuits that could put it out of business.
It is impossible for any business to prevent accidents from occurring on its premises. However, a company that invests in the right safety and maintenance policies will find itself spending a lot less on legal fees and putting more profit on the bottom line.
Kevin R. Marciano, Esquire, is the Managing Partner of Marciano & MacAvoy, P.C and a sponsor of MarcianoLegal.com. Marciano focuses his practice on representing catastrophic injury victims, including claims for medical malpractice, pharmaceutical liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, product liability, premises liability, construction accidents, liquor liability, personal injury and mass tort class actions.