5 Common Business Liability Claims and How to Avoid Them

Few things scare business owners more than injuries on their properties or the prospect of expensive personal injury lawsuits.

Between slip and fall accidents, food poisoning, and other hazards, a lot can go wrong in a business. But unfortunately, most business owners don’t have the money to pay for expensive lawsuits, let alone costly injury settlements.

So what can you do if you’re a business owner and you want to avoid pricey lawsuits? Adopt a “safety first” mindset and make preventing injuries a priority on your property.

1. Slippery Floors

One of the most common injury claims people file against businesses is slip and fall claims.

To prevent dangerous falls on your property:

  • Clean spills right away, even if the spill is on carpet.
  • Label hazardous areas to warn employees and customers of potential dangers.
  • Place floor mats in areas that often become slippery. If you own a restaurant, you should also place floor mats in kitchens and near drink dispensers and salad bars.

2. Poor Lighting

Situations can arise in your business as a result of poor lighting. Well-lit businesses also tend to experience less theft than poorly lit businesses.

To ensure your business stays well lit at all times:

  • Inspect your interior and exterior lights on a scheduled basis including testing your emergency lighting system. You never know when a severe storm might down the power lines.
  • Replace bulbs that have burned out, as well as bulbs that flicker on and off.
  • Look for areas in your business that might need more lighting. If you own a retail store, do you have corners of the store that could use more lighting? If you own a warehouse, do your employees need more lighting to locate items?

3. Stairs

Although stairs are commonplace in many businesses, they still pose a danger.. Even the most able-bodied person can slip on a step and tumble to the bottom.

If you have stairs on your property:

  • Cover your stairs in a non-skid surface. Vinyl, rubber, and matte finishes add a significant amount of grip and offer a more sure footing.
  • Inspect your handrails regularly to ensure they are secure.
  • Examine your individual steps, looking for steps that have come loose or sag.
  • Label loose or uneven steps as soon as you notice them. The more customers know about the hazard, the less likely they are to trip and fall on the step.
  • Don’t store or display anything on your staircases. Anything on your stairs has the potential to make a minor accident much worse.

4. Torn or Worn Carpet

Hardwood and tile floors aren’t the only surfaces that pose a threat to people in your business. Employees and customers can trip just as easily on torn or uneven carpet.

  • Inspect your carpet looking for torn or damaged areas.
  • Replace or repair loose or damaged areas as soon as possible. Label the area until you have time to replace the carpet.
  • Only install slip-resistant carpet and rugs in your business. Some carpet and rug materials become more slippery than others, so you’ll want to avoid those materials.

5. Outdoor Hazards

Preventing injuries doesn’t begin or end at your front door. You might also be responsible for injuries that occur just outside your business or in your parking lot.

To maximize safety:

  • Walk around your business and parking lot regularly to identify potential hazards, like poor lighting, slippery sidewalks, and potholes.
  • Make necessary repairs as soon as you notice a potential hazard.
  • Remove debris around your business right away. Broken glass, piles of leaves, and trash can also cause injuries.
  • Clear, snow and ice patches from your business as soon as possible. Don’t forget to sand your walkways and parking lot after a storm.

While these tips will help reduce the likelihood of injuries on your property also protect your business by purchasing liability insurance. Contact an insurance broker in your area to learn more about preventing accidents and protecting yourself and your business.

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