When Are You Responsible for Customer Injuries?
You strive to operate a safe business. However, you cannot prevent every accident that might harm your customers. Should a customer get hurt in your business, they might blame you for their losses. They might even decide to sue you. The question is, when are you responsible for paying?
In many cases, your negligence led to a client’s injuries. Therefore, your commercial general liability insurance might help you cover their losses, as well as your own. However, even if you had no negligence in the person’s injuries, you might still be able to help them out. During these situations, your business insurance might provide you with important benefits.
Injury Scenarios in Your Business
When you open your doors to clients, you want them to have a good experience. Still, there is always a chance that one of your clients might get hurt when they enter your business. Depending on whether you had any fault in the incident, you might have to pay for their losses.
Let’s say that one day, a customer slips and falls inside your clothing store. On one hand, there may have been nothing you could have done to prevent the accident. On the other hand, a mistake you made might have triggered a series of events leading to the fall.
The results, however, might be very similar. Sometimes, for example, the injured person might encounter significant medical bills, even if they have health insurance. Rehabilitation costs might also mount. They might also not be able to work, causing them to lose income and put their financial security on the line. This is a very dire scenario for those affected.
At times, however, they might blame your business for their losses. Sometimes, they will ask if you can help them with their medical bills. In other cases, they might even file a lawsuit against the business. Depending on how the course of the accident plays out, different types of your business insurance might be able to help you out.
Liability Insurance and Medical Payments Coverage
Most businesses carry general liability insurance. Your business’s coverage might provide a couple of avenues for you to help others in case they get hurt when visiting your store.
· Within these policies is likely bodily injury liability coverage. Should your negligent actions cause the accident, then it is this coverage that might help you and the harmed party out. Commonly, you use liability insurance in case a client sues you for your losses. It might pay for your legal bills, along with settlements awarded to the injured party.
· Many general liability policies also include no-fault medical payments insurance. This coverage will pay for a third party’s medical costs without regard to anyone’s fault in the accident. Therefore, if the accident was simply an accident, this is likely the coverage you can use to repay the client.
When to Make a Bodily Injury Liability Claim
If you have to turn to your insurance’s bodily injury liability insurance component, it is likely because you were at-fault for the client’s injuries. Determining your fault usually comes down to a question of negligence.
Generally speaking, negligence occurs when you failed to take reasonable actions that might have prevented accidents for occurring. For example, say that you mop your store’s floors one day. However, you did not place a wet floor sign on the area. A client then slips on the wet floor and falls.
This might be a case of negligence. Because you failed to warn the client of the wet floor, you might be negligent. It doesn’t matter if the accident occurred because of a mistake, it still might be your fault. As a result, your general liability policy might be able to pay for the client’s losses. It might also pay for your legal defense in case of lawsuits. The costs of settling liability suits often proves very expensive.
When Medical Payments Coverage Works Instead
Medical payments coverage is a bit different from bodily injury liability coverage. It can help a client even if you had no negligence in what caused their injuries.
For example, perhaps the heel of a client’s shoe breaks. It causes them to fall, hit their head and get a concussion. This was an unfortunate accident. They might ask if your insurance can help them with their medical bills.
However, it might not be the place for a bodily injury liability claim. There might have been nothing you could have done to prevent the accident. You didn’t have a wet floor, and there wasn’t anything you could have warned the client about to prevent the accident. In these cases, medical payments insurance might be the coverage element that pays, rather than liability coverage.
Still, regardless of whether you had any negligence in the accident or not, negotiations or legal action might still result. That’s why medical payments coverage still often works in tandem with your bodily injury liability coverage. Therefore, regardless of whether the client sues you, you might still be able to help them cover their costs.
If you ever experience an accident in your business, contact your business insurance agent. They can help you determine how your general liability insurance can help you cover the costs of customer injuries.
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