The Public Liability Insurance Blog

Three things public liability insurance catches

The causes of the majority of public liability claims are in fact more mundane and frustrating than frightening. Let’s take a look at the three main causes for claims that you don’t have to worry about so much if you have public liability insurance in place.

Slips, trips and falls

Members of the public come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes they come in a clumsy shape and size. Slips, trips and falls are by far the most common cause for public liability claims.

SlipWhen slip, trip and fall-related lawsuits are reported, a common reaction seems to be exasperation that people aren’t more careful and can’t look after themselves. It’s true that we do have an increasingly litigious culture, but in all fairness, often the business at the receiving end of the legal action is at least partly responsible.

Common sense is your friend here and being careful of how your business environment is kept through basic good housekeeping will help you stave this one off for the most part. Be careful with cables, be sensible when taking deliveries and leaving boxes lying around and be mindful of slippery floors if you are mopping.

Public liability insurance can just top off your protection strategy by giving you a safety net for those rarer belligerent and reckless individuals that might careen through your premises at any moment, managing to trip over invisible obstacles and generally cause chaos.

Falling objects

Falling boxesIn an admin office where I once worked, we regularly stacked boxes of paper about seven high until one morning, one box-tower randomly decided to throw itself over the floor. Nobody had touched them, nobody was near them, nobody had been near them, but they spontaneously leapt from their resting place startling the office and sparking a myth of an office ghost among the more impressionable staff.

Having anything fall on to a visitor to your premises is a sure-fire way to invite a public liability lawsuit and no, you won’t get away with blaming local poltergeists. Like with the slips, trips and falls, most of this can be mitigated with good housekeeping and basic common sense – slightly structurally-suspect cardboard boxes containing heavy stacks of paper probably shouldn’t be piled too high, with or without the presence of a mischievous office ghost.

As an aside, the image to the right of this section is easily my "stock image of the week". Is that box falling? Is it spontaneously launching itself into space? Is the gentleman pictured moving it with his mind? Who knows!

Stress and anxiety

As well as any physical injuries your visitors might sustain, they can also take you to court for suffering stress or anxiety as a result of something that happens as a result of your business operations.

The commonly cited example that can lead to this sort of claim is if a visitor gets stuck in a lift for a prolonged period of time. Stress and anxiety is probably the hardest thing to take control of as a business owner. Short of making sure your lifts are maintained and everything runs smoothly on your premises, there’s not much you can do. Thankfully, stress and anxiety-related claims tend to be rarer than other claims and can be difficult to prop up in court.

A note about personal injury claims

There is a reason why public liability insurance comes as £1m of cover at a minimum – the claims can get expensive. Not every claim will run into such a high cost and they are definitely less common, but they do have that potential and public liability claims in general are getting more and more popular. As with all things, you only have to be a little bit unlucky to find yourself in serious financial trouble. Even if a lawsuit has no merit, legal fees can still set you back financially.

Unless you are an eccentric billionaire who runs a small business as a hobby, you should really think carefully about whether or not you can afford to not have public liability insurance in place. If you are in any doubt whatsoever as to how public liability cover works, have a read of our public liability insurance guide, or feel free to give one of our friendly advisors a call.

YOUR Insurance specialises in public liability insurance for small and medium sized businesses involved in several trades and professions. You can compare quotes for your business online, or call one of our advisors on 0800 107 8949.