How Business Owners can Defend Against a Negligence Claim

Posted on: 31 December 2015

As a business owner, you are at risk of personal injury claims, where a plaintiff may attempt to establish that you were negligent in some way. As a result, they will attempt to hold you responsible for their injury.

Negligence is a legal term that is based on the idea that each person has the duty to act in a responsible manner in order to secure the safety of other people. For business owners, cases of negligence may occur if you fail to present an expected standard of care, which then results in an injury.

Establishing Negligence

To establish negligence, a plaintiff (the person who suffered the injury) will have to prove certain things:

  • The situation where they were injured was unreasonably dangerous.
  • The business owner should have been aware of the danger that was present.
  • The hazard that was present was the direct reason for the person's injury.

Defending Against a Negligence Claim

There are several ways to defend against a claim of negligence. In most cases, a business owner should contact a lawyer to assist with this defense since it can be complicated. When they are hired, they will work to defend the case by proving one of the following things:

  • No duty of care. There are some situations where the business owner has not reason to care for the other person. A good example of this is trespassers since they have no right to be on the property to begin with.
  • Proof that reasonable care was provided. If this is proven, then the business owner will not be found negligent.
  • No connection to a casual injury. It is essential for the injured party (or their attorney) to prove that every injury was the direct result of the business owner's negligence.
  • No real injury occurred. Real injures must be documented, along with instances of lost wages and medical bills. In regard to negligence, emotional distress is almost never enough to assess damages.
  • Comparative negligence. This is a theory that if the person injured was also responsible for the accident, then the business owner will only have to pay for a portion of the damages or injuries.
  • Assumption of the risk. This is if the person who was injured knew of the risk, but decided to proceed anyway.

Proving, or disproving, negligence can be tricky. To ensure the best possible defense is achieved, a business owner should hire a lawyer after being accused of negligence.