Personal Injury Litigation In COVID- How Businesses Can Stay Safe
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses in more than one way. Sales have dried up and organizations have been forced to move over to remote operations. To make things worse, there is a risk of litigation as employees or customers may fall sick on your premises and blame your organization. The risk gets bigger as you reopen and start having employees coming back to work and customers returning to shop. Right now, having a litigation risk mitigation plan in place becomes a no-brainer for any safe business owner.
But coming up with the right set of strategies is easier said than done. It means a lot of work as you will have to analyze the specific details of your operation to understand the challenges and come up with a strategic plan. Further, there are broader considerations that would require your attention as you reopen in the current regulatory environment. While you must consult a legal expert to come up with a plan, here are some factors that can help.
Have employee safety measures in place
As organizations reopen, the employee health and safety are paramount. There are several governmental and expert guidelines that you will have to follow as regulations to get back to work again. You will have to take adequate social distancing measures at your workplace, which may require a complete change of the office setup. Further, provision of personal protective equipment and sanitizers is also mandatory. While some of these guidelines do not sound practical, there is no choice but to have them in place. Doing so would protect your staff from contracting the infection and also keep your business safe from workers’ compensation claims.
Facilitate cleaning and sanitation
Another important measure that can help you steer clear of personal injury claims as a business is by ensuring the cleaning and sanitation of your premises. A proper program in place can go a long way in safeguarding your workforce, customers, and visitors from the infection. It also shows that you are following a reasonable duty of care as a business in case a claim arises in the future. When it comes to designing such a program, you need to pay attention to aspects like responsibility, consistency, and effectiveness. Further, you must record compliance with the cleaning process with an accurate and ongoing log of the timing that can validate your efforts during litigation.
Provide requisite warnings
Businesses serving the public should go the extra mile by posting written warnings that alert the customers and visitors of the presence of a contagion. Further, you must also state the steps that you have implemented to protect everyone on the premises. Also, request the visitors to observe reasonable precautions for avoiding exposures to themselves or others. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template for such warnings, you can connect with lawyers providing quality legal services for guidance about their text. Proper messaging can make or break your defense in case you come across litigation accusing the business of negligence.
Ensure compliance with government regulations
Not complying with government regulations is another reason that your business may get into a fix in the COVID situation. Governmental decrees on safety measures are deemed necessary at this stage, however challenging their implementation may be. Further, observing the guidelines may get tricky from the litigation risk mitigation perspective because they keep changing from time to time. But a reasonable, straightforward compliance plan puts you in a safe place as you reopen the business. You must also keep abreast of guideline developments, so that you can update your plan as the situation evolves. Finally, communicate the plans frequently with your employees and visitors if needed.
Realign business delivery services
Right now, you may also have to realign business delivery services to avoid personal injury litigation. For example, retail stores can switch to e-commerce or curbside pickup model for avoiding visitors’ contact and steering clear of visitor premises liability. The idea shouldn’t be confined to traditional retailers only but is worth considering for other industries as well. The initiative can go a long way in curbing the risk of infection. Further, it can also help you prove in the court that you had gone the extra mile for customer safety from the virus with this measure. It definitely adds weight to your case and gives you stronger defense.
Taking these risk mitigation measures can surely make your life easier as a business owner reopening in the pandemic era. Not only do they reduce the chances of litigation in the first place, but also put you in a better position if things go wrong.