Easy Tips to Avoid General Liability Claims

September 2019
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Preventing general liability claims is good for business. Avoiding claims is one of the easiest ways to keep your insurance costs nice and affordable.

Here are some ways your business can avoid a general liability claim.

Make Safety a Priority

Some industries and businesses are inherently riskier than others. Construction and manufacturing, we're looking at you.

But putting safety first is always a good idea, no matter what type of business you're in. The safer your workplace, the less you have to worry about accidents that could injure or harm someone.

  • Define your safety expectations and policies with employees.
  • Assign safety responsibilities among managers and employees.
  • Keep up-to-date on the safety standards for your industry, equipment, or products.
  • Maintain a clean working environment, free from clutter, fire hazards, and trip/fall hazards.

Making workplace safety a priority can go far in reducing the risk of an accident that can injure a customer, employee, or anyone else.

Invest in Ongoing Employee Training

Ongoing employee safety training is essential for your business. Keep your employees up-to-date on your latest policies and procedures and changes to your product lines.

But safety training isn't the only way to reduce potential general liability claims or lawsuits. Training in other aspects of your business can be helpful, as well.

You are responsible for your employees, their actions, and their words at the workplace.

When you have an employee handling your social media accounts, marketing efforts, or acting as a representative of your business, you will want to make sure they are following this next essential tip...

Market Yourself Professionally

No matter what your business, there's a chance you're doing some sort of marketing.

In today's digital marketing world, where every business has a website, social media accounts, and access to Facebook ads, it can be very easy to make a costly marketing mistake.

Whether you manage your marketing efforts yourself or have an employee or service do it for you, make sure you don’t try to boost yourself up by tearing a competitor down.

If you inadvertently damage the reputation of a competitor on your social media accounts, blog, or podcast, you could be facing a lawsuit for libel (written defamatory statement) or slander (spoken defamatory statement).

If your employee takes to YouTube to blast the competition or respond with vengeance to a negative remark left by a customer, you could be facing a lawsuit for their libelous actions.

Be Extra Careful with Customer Property

If you have customer property in your care, control, or custody while operating your business, you're responsible for that property - and could be liable for any damage while it's in your care.

You may have a mobile detail business where you service customer vehicles on the go.

Or you may employ your craft to repair customer-owned jewelry, watches, or furniture.

Whatever your business, if you are in a position to handle customer property, you need to create procedures and policies for how to do so safely.

  • Proper procedures for handling customer property may include:
  • Documenting the condition in which you received the property.
  • Carefully handling property to reduce the risk of damage.
  • Deciding how and where the property is stored when in your care.

Once you've determined the procedures for handling customer property, make sure your employees are trained and adhere to your policies.

Avoid Claims for Copyright Infringement

Make sure that you have permission to use the images, music, videos, writing, and content that you use for business purposes.

Copyright infringement claims could be costly. Be sure you're not using other people's names, images, or work without their consent.

Love your competitor's latest advertisement? Don't steal it. Get inspired, instead. How could you make one that's even better?

Need some pictures for your website? Don't screenshot one off of Google Image search. Buy some stock photos or, even better, take your own pictures and use a photo editing app to take them to the next level.

When you're blogging for business, creating content for your website, or using social media for promotion, be original. Or, at the very least, be sure you get documented permission to reshare, repost, or republish.

General Liability: a Must-have Business Insurance Policy

General liability insurance is a must-have for businesses of every size across every industry.

Not carrying this essential coverage could cost you.

The average cost of a slip and fall claim for a small business is $20,000. If a customer slips on a wet floor, is injured by your equipment, or even trips on your carpet, your business could be facing a lawsuit.

The cost of your legal defense can add up fast - even if you're not at fault.

General liability insurance is designed to cover the costs of legal expenses if your business is sued by a third-party, such as a client, customer, competitor, or even a passerby.

Avoiding liability claims means preventing incidents that could lead to third-party lawsuits or claims for things like:

  • Property damage
  • Bodily injury
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Product Liability
  • Reputation Damage

Reducing the risk of damage and harm to a customer, client, or other third-party person takes time, effort, training, and some good old fashioned policies and procedures. But if you can avoid general liability claims, the effort is well worth it. The fewer claims you file, the lower your insurance premium rates will be. And that’s just simply good for business.

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