What is negligence and what can it cost your business?
Preventing negligence in the workplace
There are many ways to fight the threat of negligence.
The first is to raise health and safety standards. A health and safety audit may be in order to help you identify areas of risk to clients that could result in injury and a possible lawsuit. Make sure that you’re signposting all possible dangers, no matter how obvious. Overlooked signposts that can often prevent lawsuits include wet floor signs or even a ‘caution hot’ sign above a tap.
You should also consider security measures. This could prevent the loss of someone’s private details or theft of someone’s property or money. Examples could include upgrading your cybersecurity to prevent hacks or hiring people to look after coats in a cloakroom.
Of course, by far the best way of preventing negligence is to make sure employees are thoroughly trained up when it comes to health and safety and security protocols. On top of training employees in person, it’s useful to have a handbook written up that employees can refer to when unsure of the correct protocol. Also, try to encourage a friendly atmosphere in which your employees feel comfortable communicating their problems to you and your staff. If your employees are afraid to ask questions they’ll be more likely to make mistakes.
It’s important to make sure that you yourself are aware of all the health and safety and security measures that could be implemented to keep a good quality of service. This could involve getting advice from a solicitor or health and safety consultant. Such advice could help you to implement better protocols and prevent errors.
Securing your business against claims
Mistakes will happen even with protocols in place and thorough training. When prevention doesn’t work, the next best line of defence is insurance. By paying small monthly amounts to an insurance scheme, you could prevent yourself from having to make a massive payout in the event of a claim. Professional indemnity insurance is a general scheme that can help protect against many claims in this area.
In certain fields, such an insurance scheme can be compulsory such as in the medical sector (named medical malpractice insurance). In most other fields, such an insurance scheme is optional but worth having. More specialised schemes can help to provide extra security against more specific types of negligence such as product liability insurance and cyber liability insurance.
It’s worth shopping around for professional indemnity insurance as rates can differ amongst providers. You can buy this online or you can get an insurance underwriter to meet you in person and take a risk analysis of your workplace. You can further lower rates by proving that you’ve taken measures to reduce the risk of a claim and by raising your deductible.
Having a solicitor on call is handy for helping to boost your defence in the case of a negligence claim. A solicitor may be able to help argue your case and negotiate terms so that you pay out less as a result.
This should take care of the financial side. Your next step should be to take steps to defend your reputation. This is important if news of the claim makes local headlines or get on social media.
Try to combat this by hiring a PR company that can help to get you in the news for a more positive reason and repair your reputation. You can also hire online marketing companies to manage your online reputation when it comes to social media post and online reviews related to the claim, replying to any negative feedback in a professional and polite manner.