Every day, small businesses are faced with the opportunity of unfortunate incidents occurring, putting their revenue at risk.
With Halloween fast approaching, we explore some scary scenarios that could result in a claim.
Your client’s building has a beautiful aquarium filled with tropical fish in the foyer. One evening, after you think all of the staff have gone home, you perch a bottle of cleaning fluid on the shelf above the tank. Just then, a security guard appears, startling you, causing your elbow to knock the cleaning fluid into the aquarium, and almost instantly, the fish find themselves in a watery grave.
While it may seem odd, the fish are your client’s property, and you can now be sued for the cost of damages to replace the deceased fish, as well as any cleaning that needs to be done to the aquarium to remove all trace of the chemicals ahead of its new inhabitants moving in. Plus of course, compensation for the client, who loved his tropical fish a lot.
The Lawnmower Man
It’s late on a fall afternoon, and the light is fading as you use a trimmer to cut the long grass that grows alongside your client’s property. Suddenly, you hear a kerfuffle from indoors before they run outside, and you look up to see that their house has been plunged into darkness.
Fortunately, cutting the power wasn’t the act of a serial killer seen in so many cliche slasher films just before they begin a rampage. You’ve cut through their power cable, and it’s now going to cost a lot of money to make it safe, and put it right. Plus as it’s approaching nightfall and your client has no power, they might also need to be moved to alternative accommodation until it can be remedied.
The Lovely Bones
On a wet and windy day, the corridors of the office building you clean are caked in mud. In your haste to clean up, you forget to place a wet floor sign at the entrance and as you reach the end of the hallway, you hear a blood-curdling scream, followed by a crash. An employee of your client has had a nasty slip on the wet floor, and the result is three broken bones.
Not only is there a good chance that you’ll have to pay for their medical bills, there is also the risk of having to pay out for someone to replace them while they are at home healing up, plus any compensation that they may seek due to negligence for not informing them that the floor was wet.
Everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of what makes us human. Being tired is another unfortunate part of being human, and sometimes you can end up going to work feeling a bit like a zombie.
On a day where you haven’t had a lot of sleep, you move all of the client’s ornaments off the shelf onto a table to dust. Too tired to move everything back one by one, you decide to save some time and effort by lifting the table back over towards the shelf, but it wobbles, and everything rolls off, smashing on the floor. And it’s then that you realize you’ve done something terrible.
It’s bad enough breaking a plate, and even worse breaking a family heirloom. But imagine breaking an urn? The horror! I think it’s safe to say that your client would be seeking more than the cost of replacing the urn in this instance.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
The sun is shining, and it’s set to be a busy day at the event you’re working at. You set up your food truck and begin selling your extra spicy chilli to hungry customers, and go home ready for the next day of the conference.
Overnight, you receive a number of calls and emails from the event organiser claiming that you have given a number of delegates food poisoning. You think nothing of it at first, assuming that they can’t handle the heat, until you stock the fridge in your food truck the next morning and realize that it isn’t cold and some of the food has spoiled. Not only are the delegates going to miss the second day of the event, resulting in them requesting to be refunded, the event organizer wants to be reimbursed for having to find another food service at short notice.
While all of these examples are theoretical, making them nothing more than a horror story, the cost of defending and payouts for claims of this nature are real, and could result in a small business being ‘killed off’. Don’t put your business in a frightful situation by protecting it with general liability insurance coverage today.