If an insured runs a business, they’ve probably heard about personal liability.
If someone slips and falls on the front steps of their business, the insured may be liable for the injuries. But what are all the personal liability risks they're vulnerable to?
Personal liability can cover a wide range of injuries and damage. Read on to learn more about personal liability claims, what might be eligible and how to protect your customers from a personal liability lawsuit.
WHAT IS PERSONAL LIABILITY?
Before we dive into the different types of risk personal liability can cover, let’s talk about what it is.
Personal liability is the idea that an insured is responsible for making sure persons and things in their care stay safe. Even if your customer didn't intend to cause harm, they may still be responsible for it.
The classic example of personal liability is a mail carrier slipping on the front steps during a thunderstorm and hurting themselves.
Your customer didn’t push the mail carrier down the steps, however by not ensuring their steps were safe, they allowed harm to come to that mail carrier.
INJURIES ON YOUR PROPERTY
One of the biggest personal liability risks is that of injuries occurring on an insured's property. This can apply to their home or business, and it pertains specifically to injuries caused by something on their property.
If an injury occurs on a customer's property, the biggest thing they'll be responsible for is the medical bills.
However, they may also have to pay for lost wages that the injured person couldn’t earn while they were recovering. If their injury is serious enough, those lost wages could account for years’ worth of income.
You may be surprised to learn that it isn’t only bodily injury that customers could be liable for. Personal liability can also cover shock, mental anguish, or mental injury.
For instance, if a customer trips down the stairs while at an insured's business, not only are they entitled to medical coverage for the physical injury, they’re also entitled to the emotional damage that injury has caused.
The damages the insured person is responsible for in these cases can be more difficult to nail down.
The injured person has to be able to provide specific, measurable damages. But the insured may be responsible for any mental health treatment they require, as well as compensation for emotional damages.
WRONGFUL OR MALICIOUS TREATMENT
Another non-physical form of personal liability is wrongful or malicious treatment.
This can cover a variety of things, ranging from a wrongful entry into or eviction from a building to malicious prosecution. If an insured knowingly humiliates someone on their property, that person may be entitled to personal liability damages.
This, too, is harder to pin down a dollar amount for. The injured person will need to show that your customer's malicious or wrongful treatment of them has had a specific, measurable, and detrimental impact on their life.
From there, the courts can determine what the 'value' of that damage is.
WHAT ISN’T COVERED
Not all instances of injury or harm qualify for personal liability.
For example, any liability resulting from a car crash won’t fall under a customer's personal liability umbrella. This would instead by covered under their automobile insurance policy.
Business activities or claims relating to an insured's profession also don’t fall under personal liability. Instead, they would be covered by employee liability insurance.
One of the best ways to protect your customers from personal liability lawsuits is to make sure they're complying with all regulations.
This should include not only things like building maintenance and safety codes but also regulations for preserving or destroying paperwork. This can help them stop accidents or liability risks before they even begin.
Insureds also need to make sure all their employees are trained in the proper safety procedures.
If an employee wasn’t told to put out the 'wet floor' sign after they mop, their ignorance could lead to a lawsuit. Ecourage your business customers to hold regular training sessions to review safety procedures and why they’re important.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PERSONAL LIABILITY RISKS
Personal liability risks can cover a wide range of damage and injuries. From property damage to humiliation, anything that suffers harm while legally under a customer's care could leave them vulnerable to a lawsuit.
Make sure you do everything you can to motivate customers to stop these accidents before they ever happen, and ensure they train staff to follow the regulations that have been put in place.