How to Safeguard Your Business from Slip and Fall Claims Part 2
As we discussed in our Part 1 of Safeguarding your Business from Slip and Fall claims, personal injury claims that stem from slips and falls at a place of business are one of the most common lawsuits against small and large businesses. It doesn’t matter if you have a small or a large business, the effects of such a claim can cause undue time and financial repercussions so the best answer would be to do everything you can to prevent such claims.
However, even when a business does everything right, there are still those who prey on business owners who do well for themselves. There are those that stage a slip or fall to collect on false personal injury insurance claims.
So, what to do? The two options are to make every effort possible to avoid genuine slip and fall hazards, and take one step further to protect yourself and your business against possible staged incidents. The first, we discussed in our Part 1 post so now we will discuss the fraudulent claims.
Preventing Fraudulent Slip and Fall Claims
A proactive routine of inspecting and cleaning up the store interior and exterior will go a long way toward preventing genuine slip and fall situations. But any business can be victimized by scammers who stage a slip and fall incident and then sue, or threaten to sue in hopes of a quick and lucrative settlement. There are people who actually make a living doing this, and there are organized rings that stage such incidents routinely. How does the business owner protect against this?
The biggest ally in the fight against this kind of fraud is the business’ security system, which should contain cameras that cover the interior and exterior of the location, and include a mix of visible cameras and discreet ones to cover all parts of the store. Further, you may want to have plain clothed security walk the store as well, depending on the industry of your business.
If a slip and fall occurs, seek help for the victim if they want it, and obtain information on any first responders who show up, including case numbers so that documentation can be obtained later if necessary.
Ask the victim to explain how the incident happened, and pay close attention to their answers. Whether they are genuinely hurt, or are trying to set up a fraudulent claim, they will definitely let you know about their injuries and what caused them. As soon as possible after this conversation, document it in writing for your records, as well as to take note of other observations. Even better, if your state allows people to record their own conversations without notifying the other party, use a miniature recorder or a smartphone app to record their statements.
Get contact information so you can stay in touch with them. After a few days, follow up with a phone call to check on how they are doing, and to review the incident with them. Watch for details that deviate from what they said at first. Take notes of the conversation and, if legal, record the conversation as well.
As soon as possible after the incident, review the security video to see how the incident happened. Often the faked incident is very apparent, particularly if the “victim” believes they are unobserved, and security video is a powerful tool in derailing fraudulent claims and lawsuits, and in seeking criminal prosecution.
Make sure all security video, recordings and written notes are saved in a safe place, and make several copies of each so that they can be turned over to the insurance company, defense attorneys, or law enforcement.
Keeping retail or any business location clean and well maintained helps prevent genuine slip and fall incidents. As a bonus, if the location gives an impression of an owner who is attentive and organized, it will be a less attractive potential victim for a staged incident.
Having a proactive procedure for documenting and investigating injury claims help protect your business against staged “accidents” that do occur. This could lead to fewer total claims, and success in fighting fraudulent claims, which will ultimately help keep your insurance premiums and legal expenses down and give you the time to actually run your business.
If you missed Part 1 of our blog in regards to doing what you can to prevent legitimate slip and fall claims, please be sure to check it out.
Otherwise, should you have any questions about the above or would like to consult about a possible fraudulent incident at your business, please contact Griffis Law Firm at (832) 284-4013. We are conveniently located in the Houston area on Bay Area Blvd. We look forward to helping you and your business safeguard against fraudulent or personal injury claims.
THE LAW OFFICE OF PHIL GRIFFIS