What Businesses Should Understand About Personal Injury Claims
Practically every business can potentially be exposed to liability for a personal injury claim. Companies can be held liable for damages stemming from a variety of situations ranging from employee injuries to customer injuries. Even service-related businesses who deal with the public need some type of personal injury insurance.
Workers Compensation and Commercial Auto Insurance
While workers are covered by workers’ compensation policies, injured employees can still file an additional personal injury claim against the commercial business’ auto policy if they are involved in an auto accident while on duty. It is always a good business decision to include as much insurance as possible in addition to specific mandated coverage because accidents happen regularly, and many times they are very costly.
Reasonable Duty of Care
All business owners or operators are required by law to provide for the safety of their customers and employees, as well as visitors to the company property. Opening your business doors to the public comes with some basic responsibilities that begin with personal safety for patrons. And, the most effective way to provide for the business and the patrons alike is maintaining adequate insurance coverage designed for specific needs when accidents do happen. Areas in which businesses can be vulnerable when it comes to breaching their duty of care includes:
- Maintaining structures so that hazards are avoided such as broken stairs or handrails.
- Providing open aisle ways for customers to shop without slipping and falling.
- Parking lots are also an area where attention should be paid, especially surfaces can become icy and slippery.
While most attorneys will not take a case they know they cannot win, many times claims are still filed based on borderline evidence of injury and responsibility. Larger business such as corporations will probably experience this legal action more often than smaller operations, but they will happen nonetheless. These smaller claims can actually be more problematic than larger ones when it appears it may be costlier to fight rather than pay the claim. However, sometimes it is worth the expense just for basic principle. Businesses are focused on profitability, and unwarranted claims are as expensive as valid claims when damages are paid out or insurance premiums rise as a result.
Most states use some form of comparative negligence law. Comparative negligence is the idea that not all accidents are the sole responsibility of the named respondent in a personal injury claim. It’s also the view that the plaintiff should be considered for what percentage they may have contributed to the accident.
- In premises law claims, this is usually considered as personal assumption of risk.
- In auto accident claims, each driver is evaluated through accident reconstruction to determine negligence based on the material facts of the case.
- Many times a claim’s value will be greatly reduced or even denied when the plaintiff is largely responsible for their own injury.
All businesses should adjust their insurance needs on an annual basis, especially regarding potential personal injury claims. One accident that is not covered could easily be the end of a business and do significant harm to the owner’s financial future when found liable for a serious injury. Always be protected, and always have a personal injury lawyer Milwaukee IL trusts in mind who can be called immediately when injury claims happen.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into personal injury practice.