Could your business be held liable? When it comes to these 7 things, the answer is yes.
#1 Personal injury. True story: 16-year-old Abigail Sataur is suing Starbucks because an employee allegedly spilled scalding water on her hands. The statement of claim, as reported in the Toronto Star, says Starbucks failed to take reasonable care to ensure Abigail was reasonably safe while in the store and to prevent an injury. Moral of the story? If someone is hurt while they’re on your premises, you could be held responsible.
#2 Property damage. This one isn’t so newsworthy, but it could happen. Let’s say an improperly installed window air conditioner falls out of your business’s second-storey window and lands on the roof of a very expensive car in the parking lot. Yes, your business could be held liable for the damage to the car.
#3 Product liability. Another true story: In 2009, Maple Leaf Foods paid out $25M to settle several class action lawsuits stemming from a 2008 listeria outbreak in deli meat produced at a Toronto plant. If a product you manufacture is compromised, you could be held responsible.
#4 Misleading advertising. Canada’s Competition Bureau is suing Ticketmaster for allegedly misleading consumers on the price of sports and entertainment tickets. Ticketmaster, it claims, adds extra fees later in the purchase process, which make the prices higher than advertised. The moral of this true story? If your marketing is false, misleading or overpromises, your business could be held liable.
#5 Damage to a space you rent. Did you see the movie Office Christmas Party? Imagine total drunken mayhem that leaves a multi-floor office building in smoldering ruins. Then imagine how angry the landlord would be. Yes, your business can be held liable for damage done to rented space.
#6 Improperly administered employee benefits. Let’s say you forget to put a new employee on the benefits plan and she gets sick or dies. Or you terminate an employee and discontinue his benefits sooner than you’re supposed to. In either case, you could be sued by that employee (or her estate).
#7 Your employee is in a car accident using her own car. If her car was being used for business purposes, her insurance policy may not cover the claim—and your business will have to.
Commercial general liability insurance is one important way to protect your business in case of a lawsuit. Is it right for you? Talk to BSMW to find out, for free.
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