63 General Liability. Learn How to Protect Yourself and Your Business Against the Cost of Lawsuits You Cannot Prevent

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1 63 General Liability Learn How to Protect Yourself and Your Business Against the Cost of Lawsuits You Cannot Prevent According to the United States Chamber of Commerce 1 out of every 3 small businesses will be sued at least once by a customer / an employee / a vendor / a competitor / [or] even a partner The risk of a lawsuit threatens every business. From slips, trips and falls on your premises to alcohol related accidents resulting from an office party. From product or service liabilities to professional errors and omissions.

2 From employment discrimination or wrongful termination to contract breaches or partnership disputes. [and] From patent violations or copyright infringement to regulatory negligence or compliance failures. No matter how careful you are accidents do happen / errors are made. [and] There are plenty of attorneys ready to make you pay Even if the allegations are fraudulent [and] the lawsuits that result can be expensive. [in fact] Lawsuits that are frivolous or without merit can still cost a company

3 legal defense fees / [and] out of court settlements / [as well as] negative publicity. You and your business can even be sued when you are not directly responsible for the cause of injury or damages. [and] Many business owners don't discover that their insurance policies contain exclusions or limitations in coverage until after they've been sued. [for example] Linda and Jim were in their early sixties preparing to sell their construction company and retire on the proceeds. [that's] When they discovered that their company was being sued and that their insurance would not pay for it because the soils engineer they contracted with had made a crucial error in specifications that would cost millions in excavation and reconstruction. But the soils engineer was a subcontractor [and] their insurance didn't cover errors by subcontractors.

4 [consequently] After an expensive two year court battle their company was held financially responsible which resulted in bankruptcy. And without the business to sell Jim and Linda could not afford to retire. Which meant that a critical oversight in their business liability coverage cost them both their business and their retirement. So how can you protect yourself and your business from the cost of a lawsuit? Meet with a business insurance specialist conduct a business liability assessment and review your current coverage for potential exclusions or limitations. Be certain that you have the right coverage in the right amounts. BEFORE your business is sued. Be sure that you have coverage that will pay ALL your legal fees as well as any judgments or out of court settlements.

5 Especially those costly personal injury and punitive awards. [and] Be sure that you have insurance to cover all your liability risks including fraudulent or frivolous claims too. [for example] A few years ago Steve's office manager terminated their bookkeeper for carelessness and incompetence due to her recurrent errors in their payables and receivables that were creating problems with both vendors and customers as well as costing the company money. [however] The disgruntled employee immediately filed a grievance with the state and hired an attorney to sue for wrongful termination. The allegations were completely without merit [of course] but the suit included a punitive component and totaled $1.2 million.

6 [fortunately] Only the year before Steve had reviewed his business liability risks with his insurance agent and had filled some critical gaps in his coverage [so] After several months of legal proceedings and despite her attorney's invalid arguments the court awarded her $155,000 plus legal fees which were entirely covered under Steve's liability insurance. So ask yourself this... Knowing that lawsuits against small business are on the rise and that your business has a 33% chance of being sued at least once. Does it make good sense to simply assume that your current liability coverage will protect you and your business when you actually need it?

7 [or] Does it make better sense to meet with a business insurance specialist conduct a business liability risk assessment and review your current coverage for exclusions or limitations? BEFORE your company is sued? [after all] Isn't it better to know that you and your business are protected against the cost of a multimillion dollar lawsuit than to regret that you could have been covered but simply never got around to it?

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