Slip and Fall Accidents, Insurance Coverage, and Procedures

Your general liability insurance covers you for your liability that comes from accidents involving bodily injury and property damage.  The most common bodily injury event by the general public (not employees) is “slip and fall.”

Someone slips and falls in your parking lot or in your lobby.

You should have a policy for handling such events that is well known by your employees, and that includes:

-Make the person comfortable.

-Be courteous and helpful.

-Allow the injured person to decide whether or not they need medical attention (unless they are unable to communicate as the injuries are so serious).

-Get the person’s name.

-Get witness names.

-Do not fill out a form in front of the injured person.

-Record the incident and keep a record of the event including the conditions that were present.  Get pictures after the fact.  The report should include comments made by the injured person about the event (“I only had two beers with lunch,” is something that needs to be in the report).

-Never admit fault.

-Never berate or reprimand employees in the presence of the injured person.

-Never share a copy of any report with the injured person or his attorney.

Such events do not need to be reported to your insurance company unless the injuries are so serious that an ambulance is called to the scene.  If the injured party calls you about medical bills (or his attorney contacts you), then report the claim.

It should go without saying that if your lobby is slippery every time it rains, you need to consider a different floor covering.  Putting a “slippery when wet” sign out is NOT risk management.  It is admitting there is a problem and that you have not fixed it.

So-called medical payments insurance is also a part of most general liability insurance policies.  More on that in a future post.