In every business, there are liabilities present. These are risks that, should they develop into actual problems, could cause significant issues for both the company and others, such as your patrons. Therefore, you have to create as safe and secure a business as possible without failing to acknowledge the fact that sometimes things will go wrong. As a result, you have to institute safety practices that will help you be ready in case anything ever goes wrong in your line of work.
One high-risk area to which you always need to pay attention is your public restroom. Having a restroom for employee and customer use is par for the course in most businesses. However, within that facility, there are numerous potential hazards that might cause problems for your customers, even in ways that you didn't see coming. One of the most common types of hazards to occur in a business' restroom is a slip-and-fall injury. And when it does happen, the ramifications could be far-reaching.
You naturally don't want anyone to get hurt in your business. However, you can't ignore the fact that sometimes things just happen. Still, when the injured party is a customer, they might not only sustain significant personal losses, but also blame the business as a result. Therefore, it might be the business that has to pay up in the end.
Under the circumstances, your commercial insurance portfolio will usually provide a benefit called general liability insurance. This coverage is designed to help a business address third-party losses that resulted from their mistakes or negligence. Therefore, it is a benefit to both the policyholder that has to file a claim, and the customer that expects to benefit from it.
Let's take a closer look at this coverage and consider how it can apply specifically to the slip-and-fall risks present in your bathrooms.
Why Are Bathrooms High-Risk Areas?
Bathrooms are liabilities to any business. They are frequently-used areas, not to mention private spaces within a public place. They must meet certain health and safety standards, as well.
Still, no matter how hard you work to create a safe, secure bathroom, there are plenty of injury risks present for the average user. Of course, slip-and-fall risks might arise from leaking pipes, overflowing toilets, dripping water or freshly mopped floors. Plus, there are countless other injury risks that might not seem so obvious, including:
- Loose, damaged or slick flooring.
- Dirty flooring or walkways littered with paper products.
- A lack of safety rails in secure areas.
- Broken toilet seats.
Should a fall occur, it could range from a non-issue to a significant injury for the victim. They could suffer any number of serious ramifications, including:
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Concussions or head injuries
- Mental anguish
These might cause significant medical and personal losses for the injured party. Their hospital or rehab bills might skyrocket. They might even lose income because they cannot work. Combined, these losses could be significant, and create a substantial and unmanageable amount of financial strain for the affected party. As a result, they might blame you as the party responsible for their losses. They might even decide to sue you.
The fact that someone fell in your bathroom doesn't have to be due to an intentional mistake on your part. Instead, it might come down to a simple mistake or negligent action that, however unintentional, still was your fault. As a result, you might have an obligation to compensate the affected person for their losses. You might also face significant legal fees as a result of any lawsuits that often might arise.
To any business, these costs could be significant, and most business owners would not be able to afford to pay them on their own. That’s why general liability insurance is absolutely necessary to help you maintain your business’s own stability despite owing significant restitution to a third party.
How Liability Insurance Can Be Of Assistance
There is virtually no way to eliminate every chance of a slip-and-fall accident to occur in your bathroom. However, because commercial insurers recognize these risks, their general liability insurance plan offerings are almost always going to cover these accidents when they occur. As a result, the business will be able to survive these incidents virtually unscathed, while still being responsive to someone who suffered an accident due to your mistakes.
Still, though your policy will cover slip-and-fall claims, that does not mean you don't have a duty to engage in proper risk management practices. After all, the safer your bathrooms, the less of a likelihood there is of a fall occurring. Often, it's as simple as noticing fall risks (like leaking pipes), isolating them and then cleaning up the mess as quickly as possible. The sooner you fix a problem, the lower your chances of ever having a problem occur.
Keep an eye on things, make bathroom cleanliness and safety a priority in your bathroom, and make certain that you respond to any customer complaint as soon as it arises. In the end, you'll do yourself a lot of favors by making sure that you are ahead of the game in the face of any potential bathroom liabilities.
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