How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall Liability

As a small-business owner, you likely don’t have the deep pockets of a large corporation. If sued, you can’t pay out a hefty settlement and then just move on. One costly lawsuit may have the power to break you and your company.

The good news is that Maryland is one of the few states that applies a principle called “contributory negligence” to personal injury claims. As opposed to the “comparative negligence” rule that most states follow, contributory negligence is more favorable to defendants. Basically, it means that in order to win compensation, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant is entirely responsible for the incident that led to injury. In comparative negligence states, the party being sued may be on the hook for some damages even if the plaintiff is found to be partly responsible for the accident.

That said, it’s in your and your customers’ best interests to make sure your premises are consistently safe and hazard free, you are adequately insured, and you have protocols in place for handling accidents before they happen.

The Maryland business law attorneys — and Advocates for Life’s Obstacles and Opportunities — at Lusk Law, LLC are experienced in all aspects of small-business law. Call 443-360-5825 to learn how we can help you protect yourself in a slip and fall claim.

5 Ways to Minimize Liability

 

1)   Insurance

General liability insurance, or business liability insurance, is essential for any small-business owner. These policies protect you in a variety of scenarios, including if your product causes harm to a person, medical payments to non-employees for which your business is found liable, damage to premises you don’t own, and slip and fall and other personal injury suits brought against you.

2)   Frequent Inspections

It’s important to inspect your business frequently to check for potential hazards. Don’t do this in a haphazard manner; create a schedule and stick to it. Walk over every inch of the premises and check for anything that could lead to an accident: wet floors, uneven surfaces, steps, etc. Make sure everything is free of obstructions and well-lit. If you do encounter a hazard, log it and note what you did to eliminate it. If you absolutely can’t correct it immediately, display a warning sign so your visitors are aware of the issue.

3)   Draft a Report Form

If someone is injured in a slip and fall accident at your business, prompt, accurate, and detailed reporting is critical. You should have an incident report form at your fingertips in case the unexpected happens. This will come in handy down the road for insurance purposes or if the person decides to file a lawsuit.

4)   Develop an Action Plan with Staff

If you have employees, it’s critical that they know what to do in case of a slip and fall if you are not on the premises. Have a plan in place, go over it with them, and put it in writing. It may involve getting necessary medical attention immediately, notifying you, and filling out an incident report form.

5)   Get an Attorney

An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on protocol in case of a slip and fall on your grounds, help you draft an accident report form, and provide counsel on other issues you may face as a small-business owner. The Frederick County, MD, business law attorneys at Lusk Law, LLC are ready to help. Get in touch with us online or call 443-360-5825.

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