As a business owner, you are exposed to all sorts of risks. External economic factors can have an outsize effect on your business. New regulations have to be monitored and implemented punctually. And in some instances, lawsuits can result in bad publicity and hefty legal fees.
A single lawsuit can be enough to tank your business altogether. Years of painstaking effort and resources can go down the drain instantly. Therefore, you must adopt as many liability prevention mechanisms as possible to reduce the risk of lawsuits and ensure you can manage them effectively.
To this end, staying above board and in compliance with all regulations is the most important thing. But you likely already do so. Nevertheless, some expert-recommended additional liability prevention tips can help you circumnavigate lawsuits.
Liability Prevention Tips For Your Business
As difficult as it can be, getting sued is par for the course when running a business. Many things can go wrong, such as a customer getting accidentally injured. What is important is that you can adequately defend yourself against lawsuits and even deflect them amicably when possible.
Luckily, we will tell you all the ways you can achieve just that. Here goes:
1. Obtain a Business Attorney
To cover your bases against lawsuits, the first and most important step is to retain a business attorney – irrespective of your business’s size or age. Ideally, hire an attorney from the pre-launch phase of your business startup to help you ensure you have followed the correct procedure to avoid liability down the road.
Your attorney will work with you to open new bank accounts, fill out relevant paperwork, and apply for business licenses. By establishing a good repertoire with your attorney from the get-go and retaining them, you can avail of their services whenever necessary.
Their services would be indispensable to you whenever you have to implement any changes in the company or expand, helping you comply with relevant state and federal regulations.
And if you ever are sued, you will have a lawyer who has worked with you for some time and is aware of you and your business’s needs. Trust them to look out for your best interest in the courtroom.
2. Protect Against Personal Injuries
The worst-case scenario for a business is an employee or customer getting injured. Of course, you should take careful steps to ensure you comply with all regulations and have safety precautions in place so nobody is hurt.
However, no matter how seriously and sincerely you take your employees, and your customers’ safety, an accidental mishap beyond your control can result in somebody getting injured.
You might be liable for the injured person’s medical fees in that case. These settlements can be exorbitantly high and can bankrupt you. Therefore, many businesses ensure they are insured against personal injury claims so that despite their best efforts, they have the financial safety net to fulfill any injury claims if something tragic happens.
Here are a few types of insurance that you need to have as a small business owner to protect against personal injuries:
- Worker’s compensation insurance: This is a form of insurance mandated by most states and helps workers who are hurt while on the job. It can help pay hospital bills, lost wages, and disability payments.
- Disability insurance: If an employee suffers a non-work-related injury or illness and is subsequently unable to work, disability insurance may be able to replace some of their lost income.
- Health insurance: This type of coverage can help your staff pay for treatment for non-work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Group accident insurance: This insurance aims to compensate workers who sustain injuries in accidents, whether or not those injuries were sustained on the job.
- General liability insurance: If a client or other person is hurt on your property or as a result of your goods or services, this insurance can help cover the costs associated with the incident.
- Commercial auto insurance: If your company operates a fleet of vehicles, you should invest in this insurance to protect yourself and your employees from the financial consequences of any mishaps.
- Product liability insurance: This policy provides insurance against claims of bodily injury or property damage caused by a covered product.
- Umbrella insurance: This insurance is a supplementary liability policy that kicks in once your other insurance is exhausted.
3. Operate as the Correct Business Entity
Owning and running a business without the necessary approvals or licenses is illegal and grounds for legal action. However, even if you register your company with the government, you must declare yourself as a specific business entity with a certain ownership structure.
Then, make sure you are complying with that ownership structure. Whether you are registered as a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you have to operate as that; otherwise, you will be taken to court by regulators. This can also detrimentally affect your insurance liability coverage.
4. Provide Employee Training
Another preventative measure against liability is employee training. Your employees are the face of your business, and they can either help prevent or contribute to liabilities.
Provide your employees with training on handling hazardous materials, interacting with customers, and using equipment safely. Regular training sessions can help prevent accidents and reduce your business’s liability risk.
Locate Knowledge Voids And Fill Them
Determine what abilities and information workers must possess to succeed in their positions. Locate the specific areas where your staff members are deficient in knowledge or ability, and develop training courses accordingly.
Make Training Fun
Make use of a wide range of instructional strategies, including role-playing, case studies, and classroom discussion. Involvement and knowledge retention among staff will increase as a result.
Maintaining compliance with policies, procedures, and regulations requires regular communication updates to staff. Make sure that employees receive consistent training and that they are kept abreast of any developments.
Use Technology To Train
E-learning platforms and other online training programs are becoming increasingly popular for providing instruction to staff. They allow workers to complete training modules at their own pace.
Evaluation Of Training Success
Measure the efficacy of training by testing new skills and checking for long-term retention. Take this criticism into account when planning future training courses.
For example, when your drivers are sufficiently skilled or machine operators know what they are doing, they are less likely to accidentally injure themselves or someone else – forcing you to remunerate injury claims.
When your drivers are sufficiently skilled, or machine operators know what they are doing, they are less likely to accidentally injure themselves or someone else – forcing you to remunerate injury claims.
To this end, you should also ensure they are well-rested, skilled, and not overworked. Conduct responsible background checks, so you know the person you hire has the training to operate any industrial equipment. Moreover, if your employees are unskilled, they must receive adequate training.
You can improve internal training and lessen liability by adopting these practices, which will equip your staff with the information they need to do their jobs well and comply with all applicable laws and policies.
There is always an element of danger when running a business. It’s an undeniable truth that can’t be ignored. The lawsuit threat could be the final straw for business owners operating on a smaller scale. However, if you put in the time and effort ahead of time, you can secure your business and personal assets. The tips mentioned above will help you keep your small business out of harm’s way.
Although you may take precautions to protect your small business from legal action, you may still face lawsuits. You could be sued even if your actions were entirely legal.
That’s why the foundation of effective risk management is ensuring that your business has enough insurance coverage.
Get Adequate Liability Insurance to Safeguard Your Business
Curious about what kind of insurance coverage will best protect your new company?
When it comes to customer service, no one does it better than John M. Glover (JMG) Insurance Agency, which has been around since 1916. Talk to one of our experts about tailoring an insurance policy to your unique situation.