We all know that accidents happen. People get hurt, and sometimes it really is just an accident (I tore an ankle ligament walking down a flight of stairs – it wasn’t anyone’s fault). But if someone gets hurt at a business, they might sue and say that it was the business’s fault that they got hurt. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, but the business has to protect itself nonetheless.
- Get a lawyer
If the person who is injured files a lawsuit against the business, it’s important to have proper defense lined up to help protect the business.
- Contact insurance
Most businesses should have some form of general liability insurance (http://www.generalliabilityinsurance.org), and it’s important to look at the terms of the insurance in the event that someone is injured. Finding out what the insurance will do in the event of a lawsuit is a crucial step in the process.
- Client or employee?
It’s important to find out who is bringing the suit against the business, because the way the company responds varies based on whether or not the injured party worked for the company. For example, a client who slips on a wet floor has markedly different needs from an employee who was burned on a faulty coffee machine.
- Determine fault
It’s important to try to prevent lawsuits by keeping proper maintenance, adhering to proper codes, and posting signs when necessary. However, if an accident still does occur, it’s important to double-check what the company did, if the company was abiding by its policies and all pertinent laws, and then present this information to the attorney to help build the case.
Sometimes, people sue just to cover medical expenses. It’s important to try to settle out of court, because it saves everyone time and money in the long run. Of course, consult with attorneys before taking any action or making any deals.
- Check for fraud
It’s sad to say it, but some people are out to rip other people (and businesses) off. Make sure that the claim is legitimate and that someone isn’t just trying to make a quick buck at the expense of a small business.
- Find out who is responsible
If someone is injured on the business’s property, the company will take the rap for that. If an employee is injured on a job site or at a client’s residence/business (for example, a technician), that is a different situation.
- Look at new laws concerning the business
It’s important to remember that times are changing, and laws often change along with the time. Make sure that the lawyers and business owners are informed as to their responsibilities and any new legislation that have been produced concerning the type of business that is being sued.
Getting the information concerning the accident ready and organized is a great step in getting ready for the court date. It’s important to keep all documents organized and have them ready for the lawyer to construct the case.
Getting ready for court is just as important (if not more so) as preparing for a presentation or a pitch for the company. A court date is the platform on which the lawsuit hangs, so preparing for it is the biggest thing a company can do to save itself thousand, or possibly millions, of dollars.