All small businesses should be aware of the risks that their business activities present to customers and to the general public, and should have adequate public liability insurance in place.
Every identified risk should be minimised as far as possible. For example, restaurants should make it clear on menus which meals contain ingredients such as nuts; construction companies should adhere to strict health and safety guidelines to protect both employees and members of the public; and shops should make sure that all the products they sell adhere to safety guidelines and are within best-before-end dates.
Sometimes, however, an accident is determined to happen and it is often one that could be expensive for your business to resolve. Here are the steps you should take if the worst happens:
Are you covered?
The first thing you should do is look through your insurance policy documents to make sure your public liability insurance covers you for the incident in question. Sometimes the exclusions that you thought were insignificant at the time of purchase can come back to haunt you.
Contact your insurer
Get in touch with your business insurance provider as soon as you can. They should be able to confirm whether your policy will cover you against a claim and offer some advice about what to do next.
Contact us directly via our online claims form if you are insured with Simply Business.
Make sure you take every possible action to prevent a situation from getting worse - if a customer or member of the public is injured call an ambulance immediately, or if it is damage to property try to minimise the damage.
Do not abmit blame
You should not admit to liability for any situation or offer to pay compensation without first consulting your insurance company and lawyer. Doing so could affect your insurer's ability to defend your case and reduce the likelihood of the insurance company paying out. Any correspondence regarding this should be immediately passed to your insurer.
Respond only on advisement
You may receive correspondence from the claimant's solicitor or in the form of a summons or notice of prosecution. In this case do not respond personally or acknowledge it, simply inform your insurance company straight away.
Act quickly when necessary
Your insurance claim could be affected if you delay informing your insurer about an incident or if you are slow when dealing with them about it.
The final thing you should do is to take action towards ensuring that the same accident doesn't happen again. Regular risk assessments will help you keep on top of this. Keeping staff informed about safety and security procedures will also help you prevent further incidents occurring.