Guest view: Is your company at risk for a personal injury claim?
Protecting the company is a critical component of any business owner's daily routine. Whether consciously thinking of business protection or not, each daily action taken by a business leader impacts the safety of the business, employees and customers.
Personal injury claims can have a detrimental impact on a company’s financial security and future – especially for small businesses. As a personal injury attorney, there are five common mistakes our team sees business owners make that increase the chance of a personal injury claim against the company.
Cutting corners on a safe working environment.
Workers’ compensation is the most common type of personal injury claim seen at our personal injury law firm. Having a safe working environment is in everyone’s best interest. For employees, a safe working environment means less risk of becoming injured and missing work. For business owners, the benefit is two-fold. Not only does a safe work environment protect their employees, but it also positively impacts their workers’ compensation insurance rates.
How? These rates are risk related. The more instances of workers’ compensation claims a company has or the longer an employee is out of work due to a claim, the higher the insurance rate. Insurance cost and overhead are directly linked to the number of injuries that occur on the job. Remember, what is best for employees is also best for the company’s budget.
Launching fleets of company cars without consideration of risk.
Companies that have a fleet of vehicles have a higher risk of personal injury liability. Maybe a business offers a company car as a perk or perhaps a fleet of company vehicles is needed to conduct the daily operations of the business. Regardless of the reasoning, having a fleet of company vehicles increases risk and liability. For instance, if an employee is driving a company car and on the way home decides to stop for a drink, the business may be liable for anything that happens next. Although that employee is “off the clock,” they are now driving home impaired in a company vehicle and the company may be liable for any injuries caused.
Overlooking routine property maintenance and upkeep.
Premises liability is the second most common personal injury claim seen by our team. When business owners are not proactive about property safety, they put themselves at risk for an injury to take place or to see their insurance rates increase because they are viewed as high risk. Not removing trip hazards from sidewalks or entry ways, not performing routine building maintenance, or not practicing responsible snow removal all demonstrate that the company may be a higher risk to the insurance company.
Ignoring the importance of training.
It’s important for businesses to offer training and educational opportunities for employees to help them perform their jobs safely. This training helps to protect employees and demonstrates the company’s dedication to a safe work environment. From tips on lifting to how to handle equipment, ongoing education can make a big impact and sets a precedent.
Cutting corners on insurance coverage.
Business owners need to understand their insurance coverage and how it impacts their business both at the office and on the road (when company vehicles are available for employees). Understanding the insurance coverage is a critical step in being prepared for unforeseen accidents and injuries.
Businesses that make these common mistakes may put themselves at higher probability of personal injury claims from both employees and customers. Remember, the best protection for all businesses, employees and customers, is to be proactive when it comes to safety.