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An unexpected slip-and-fall can cost your favorite team the championship. It could also cost your beloved small business – in the form of a costly lawsuit. According to Statistics Canada, slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of bodily injury in Canada. Lawsuits stemming from these injuries can be filed against small business owners like yourself, and they’re something that you need to be prepared for. Your business deserves the best defense when it comes to protection against bodily injury lawsuits. That’s why having commercial general liability (CGL) insurance and establishing best practices for preventing and reacting to accidents can help you keep your business on its A-game.

What the heck is CGL insurance?     

CGL insurance is designed to help protect you and your small business from costly lawsuits if you’re found legally liable for bodily injuries to a third party. Put simply, if someone gets injured on your business property and decides to sue you, your CGL insurance policy may help with the legal costs and damages associated with the lawsuit.

For example, if a customer slips on a wet floor in Alice’s Bakery, they could sue her for a lot of money!  But with CGL insurance, Alice has the coverage she needs to defend her bakery from a lawsuit and keep it a winning business. CGL insurance can also protect your business if an injury occurs on a jobsite. If Benny is renovating a customer’s kitchen, and the customer trips over Benny’s contracting equipment, CGL insurance can help Benny defend his contracting business so he can focus on getting the job done. Customers aren’t the only ones that could injure themselves on your property. Couriers, vendors, subcontractors, and other unassuming individuals could take a tumble on your small business’ property. That’s another good reason to include CGL insurance in your small business’ defensive playbook for success!

How can you minimize slips, trips, and falls?

Great athletes are agile and quick on their feet, and you should be too. It’s always good to try to prevent an accident before it happens. Here are some best practices you should use to protect your small business from slips, trips, and falls:

  • Clean up spills on walking surfaces. If you accidentally spill your morning cup of joe, don’t pull a Shaggy and say it wasn’t you! Own up to your workplace foul and clean it up.
  • Put up warning signs. After you’ve mopped, waxed, or Zamboni-ed your floor, make sure to put up a caution sign so your customers know to tread carefully.
  • Shovel your property. Slips can happen in your storefront, your parking lot, or even on the walkways outside. Keep a winter maintenance log to track when and where you’ve shovelled.
  • Watch out for sloped walking surfaces. A steady incline can lead to not-so-steady falls, so make sure there’s grip on your slopes.
  • Flatten any loose or unsecured mats. Think about all the times you’ve stumbled over a loose mat. Now imagine that happening at your jobsite. Not a fun thought, is it?
  • Secure any exposed cords. It’s cool if you have funky electronics in your store to catch your customers’ attention; it’s not cool if you leave all the cords dangling around.
  • Clean your clutter. Not everyone can maneuver around your labyrinth of mess as well as you can. Be considerate and keep your store clean.
  • Keep your store well-lit. Ever try walking to the bathroom at night while it’s pitch black? That’s how stubbed toes happen. Don’t put your customers through the same misery.
  • Avoid uneven walkways. Cracks in your flooring and walkways could lead to a big crack in your wallet, so make repairs as needed.

Here’s some real grown-up talk from TruShield’s Coverage Coach: when someone gets hurt on your business property or jobsite, your business could suffer a game-changing injury. Have best practices in place to proactively protect your business from getting bruised. Slip and Fall Report Template

What should you do if an accident happens?

Being proactive should be part of your business’ playbook for success, but sometimes accidents happen that are out of your control. If you do experience an instance of third-party bodily injury, it’s equally important to have best practices in place on what to do after the event. A good place to start is with an incident report form that you can keep handy for all those involved to fill out. We’ve created a FREE easy-to-use template for you to get you started. Add this to your playbook for success! This form will help you record key details that you can reference when you report the incident back to your insurance company. It’s very important to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible following an accident. They can walk you through the claims process and provide insight on important details, such as reducing your exposure to liability. Accidents happen, and they could lead to someone taking a tumble in your store, on your business property, or on a jobsite. These accidents could result in costly lawsuits and damage to your business. Fortunately, CGL insurance can help you protect your business in the event of a bodily injury lawsuit. Along with CGL insurance, having best practices to both prevent accidents and properly react to them can keep your business winning and reduce your losses.  

Ready to strengthen your small business’ defense? Build a playbook for success with our online quoter!

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This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.