As a small shop owner, one of your worst nightmares may be having a customer file a personal injury lawsuit against you after being injured (or pretending to have been injured) on your property. Dealing with such a lawsuit can not only wipe you out financially, but can also take up time that you'd rather spend building your business. While you can never completely rule out the chance that someone will be injured on your property, here are three ways to reduce the chances of this happening.
Keep your parking lot in good condition.
Many slip and fall accidents happen in parking lots. Keep in mind that what looks like a little uneven pavement to you may present quite the hazard to an elderly customer with a walker. Be sure to have any pot holes that appear in your parking lot patched up immediately, and have your parking lot cleaned or swept on a regular basis so that there's no debris for anyone to trip on.
If you live in an area where snow and ice are common in the winter, be especially vigilant about keeping your parking lot clear. Spend a little more money on liquid deicers instead of using salt. Not only are they more effective on super-cold days, but they also do less damage to the asphalt, so there will be fewer holes for customers to work around.
Do maintenance and stock tasks when your business is closed.
Another common cause of personal injuries is misplaced stock or hazards presented by maintenance work. An employee could accidentally drop a box on a customer's toes when stocking the shelves, or a nail could fly out out of the wall when a worker is pounding it in. Thus, it's much safer to stock your shelves and do any needed repairs when your business is closed. If you need to do some basic restocking during the day, have your employees carry one box at a time out of the back room instead of using carts and other big equipment to roll out stacks of boxes that could tumble and create hazards.
Set up security cameras throughout the store.
Small business owners often make the mistake of assuming that one camera near the door is enough. While this may be sufficient for deterring theft in small stores, it is not sufficient for preventing falsified personal injury lawsuits. Make sure you place several cameras throughout the store, and that they cover all areas. This way, if a customer does become injured, the footage can be used in court to determine whether or not what happened was truly your fault and ensure that the plaintiff is not lying about how the injury was sustained.
Having a personal injury lawsuit filed against you is never pleasant. In addition to following the tips above, be sure to talk to a lawyer like FrascaKim Lawyers about other ways to reduce your risk of a lawsuit.