Public Liability Insurance is often a crucial safety net for most businesses. It covers the financial cost of claims made by third parties due to bodily injury or damages incurred on your business premises or in connection with your business operations.
Understanding how the Public Liability insurance claims process works when such incidents arise is beneficial. In this guide, we’ll explore the details of Public Liability claims, the role of insurance brokers, and the importance of knowing your rights and responsibilities in this process.
Decoding Public Liability Insurance
Public Liability Insurance is intended to protect businesses against possible legal liabilities. When a third party, like a customer, supplier, or a passerby, gets injured or their property gets damaged due to your business operations, this insurance may come into play. For instance, if a customer slips on a wet floor in your shop and gets injured, Public Liability Insurance can cover the associated legal and settlement costs.
Key Elements of a Public Liability Claim
In a typical liability claim, certain elements may need to be proven. These can include aspects such as:
- Duty of Care – The claimant must show that the business or individual had a legal obligation or a ‘duty of care’ towards them to ensure safety against foreseeable harm or injury.
- Breach of Duty of Care – The claimant must show that the business or individual failed in their duty of care. This could be through an act or omission leading to an accident or injury.
- Causation – The claimant must prove that the breach of duty of care directly caused their injury or damage.
- Damage or Injury – Lastly, the claimant must show that they have suffered actual harm or damage due to the breach. This could be physical injuries, property damage, or financial loss.
The Claim Process: A Step-by-Step Guide
Let’s break down the typical Public Liability claim process into detailed steps:
1. The Incident
An incident occurs on your business premises or in connection with your business operations, causing injury or property damage to a third party.
2. Reporting the Incident
In most cases, the incident will be reported to the business owner or manager. The report should (but may not always) include all relevant details, such as the date, time, location, circumstances of the incident, and any witnesses. Sometimes, the claimant will first engage the services of a solicitor, who will handle reporting the incident to the business.
3. Notifying Your Insurance Broker
The most crucial step is to immediately notify your insurance broker once you are aware of the incident. Your broker can then guide you through the claim process and advise on the next steps.
At this stage, it is essential not to admit to any liability or enter into any negotiations without consulting with your insurance broker or insurer first. Doing so can prejudice your position under your insurance policy, and your insurer may have grounds to refuse or reduce an insurance claim.
4. Gathering Evidence
Collect all available evidence related to the incident. This may include photographs, CCTV footage, witness statements, and other relevant documentation. Your insurance broker will generally guide you on the required information or evidence.
5. Claim Lodgement
Your insurance broker will lodge the claim with your insurer, providing all necessary information and documentation on your behalf.
The insurer will review the evidence, examine the circumstances of the incident, possibly visit the site of the incident, and determine liability in conjunction with your insurance policy.
7. Claim Outcome
Once the investigation is complete, the insurer will decide on the claim. If accepted, the insurer will negotiate a settlement with the claimant. If denied, the claimant may then choose to take further legal action.
The Role of the Insurance Broker in the Claim Process
Insurance brokers are your allies in the public liability claim process. They act as intermediaries between your business and the insurer, offering professional advice and guidance at every step. Here’s what they do:
- Providing Advice: They explain the claim process, ensuring you understand your rights and responsibilities.
- Lodging the Claim: They lodge the claim with the insurer, providing all necessary documentation and information.
- Liaising with the Insurer: They handle all communication and negotiations with the insurer on your behalf.
- Assisting with Disputes: If a dispute arises, they can help resolve it through negotiation or refer it to a dispute resolution process.
- Advocating for Your Business: They ensure you receive a fair and satisfactory outcome in accordance with your policy coverage.
Understanding the public liability claim process is vital for every business. A precise knowledge of this process helps you navigate it more effectively if an incident occurs. Your insurance broker is there to support you throughout this process, providing guidance and ensuring you receive a fair outcome.
Prevention is always better than cure. Investing in risk management strategies and maintaining a safe environment can significantly reduce the likelihood of a public liability claim.
However, if an incident occurs, the process outlined in this guide will empower you to handle it confidently and professionally. For personalised advice on public liability insurance, contact our team at Webber Insurance.