The California Department of Motor Vehicles has ceased using the term “traffic accident”, opting instead to refer to them as “collisions”, because one or more involved drivers will be found at fault for the occurrence.
There really is no such things as an accident. Someone is always responsible for an event that causes bodily injury. It may be a result of another’s actions, such as one’s failure to clearly mark a wet floor, or the actions of the injured party. When you are running a business or participating in community events, you must protect yourself from lawsuits by first protecting the employees, customers, and community members with whom you interact.
According to recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred in 2016. More than 5,100 workers suffered fatal work-related injuries that year as well. As an employer, it is your duty to not just keep a safe and healthy environment for your staff, you must also train them to be safe in their work.
First, you must avoid the opportunity for a staff member’s pre-existing condition to cause health hazards while on the job. Depending on the work being performed, your employees may need training in correct posture, clear instruction on the operation of potentially dangerous equipment, or the safe handling of chemicals. Requiring rest breaks, as outlined by your state’s Occupational Safety and Health agency, will also go a long way to preventing injury in the workplace.
Protect Community Members
It may be that you volunteer as a little league coach, or you are involved in community organizations in your hometown. Either way, the protection of your team or local residents during practice, games, and other events is vital. If something happens while you are coaching a practice or running a community event, it will be easier for your injury attorney to fight a lawsuit against you and possibly reduce, or even avoid, a judgment against you.
Team members, especially children, should be taught about the need for proper warm-ups, stretching, exercises, body mechanics, rehydration, and nutrition. Encouragement to implement these practices, and the monitoring of them, is necessary for the prevention of sport-related injuries. Community events may call for special signage, roped-off sections, clean and clear paths, and safe food handling practices.
The United States is known to much of the world as a litigious society in which the citizens commonly file lawsuits for minor issues. Most frivolous lawsuits are dismissed early on, but without proper practices, it can be difficult for your injury attorney to prove that the case against you is invalid.
Business owners are especially vulnerable to these unfounded lawsuits, many of which actually turn out to be nothing more than a set-up by the alleged victim. Customers have been known to bring items into restaurants and install them in their meals. Grocery store shoppers will create wet places on floors and then “slip” in them. Implementing practices related to the upkeep of your business and triple-checks of services is the best first step to fighting these lawsuits in court.
As of late, the use of surveillance cameras in public places and around private residences has exploded. Traditionally, these camera systems were used to prevent crime, or at least catch the perpetrators in the act and assist in their future apprehension. These days, however, both home and business owners are using cameras to protect themselves from unwarranted injury claims.
By placing security cameras in your home business will keep visitors and employees honest in their practices as well as alerting to you to any necessary changes in protocol. It will even prevent customers and guests from falsely initiating injuries or making claims against you or your employees. If nothing else, you will be able to prove that the lawsuit is unfounded because the entire event has been caught on film.
Simply stating that something has been done or that a claim is untrue in court is not going to help your injury attorney obtain a dismissal. You may have properly trained your employees in workplace safety, but an employee can easily claim that it was never actually carried out. Likewise, any hazardous conditions that you have repaired or for which you’ve installed safety protocols to prevent, cannot be proven without proper documentation.
Be sure to have employees sign and date descriptive documents upon receiving workplace safety training. You should also retain any receipts for work performed around your home or business that were meant to remove dangers to employees or guests. Additionally, claimants have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, so storing your surveillance camera footage will come in very handy if someone files a claim against you several months after the alleged incident occurred.
Yes, every United States citizen has the right to sue someone, but they must also be held accountable for their own actions, or lack thereof. The aforementioned suggestions are vital in protecting yourself, your business, and your finances, from invalid claims.