Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How to Protect Your Business From Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 8, 2017 1:05 AM

Wrongful death lawsuits can occur because of a product defect, misconduct or the negligence of another party. The family of the deceased will often sue a business that is responsible for their loved one's death - and rightfully so.

Wrongful death lawsuits have a lower standard of proof than a criminal trial, and a person liable for wrongful death may not be convicted of a crime.

You can protect your business from wrongful death lawsuits by taking a proactive approach.

Obtain the Appropriate Insurance

Your first line of defense is to ensure that you have the right insurance. Product liability insurance, for example, can help pay for a lot of the damages sought in wrongful death, including:

  • Economic damages
  • Expert witness fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Punitive damages
  • Non-economic damages
  • Settlement costs

And depending on your policy, there may be other damages covered by your insurance company.

Doctors, for example, will need to take out medical malpractice insurance to protect them from potential lawsuit costs. Speak to your insurance provider and find the appropriate insurance you need to protect yourself from wrongful death lawsuit costs.

Training and Procedures are a Must

Proper employee training and education is a must for every business. Attorney  Juan Reyna says that Texas alone has 7,000 deaths per year due to medical errors. Proper training limits a business's liability to some extent.

For example, if a business trains their employees to perform a service or task properly, this will lower the business's risk of mistakes. But, you need to go beyond these basic trainings to protect your business.

A list of procedures should be followed, too.

This may include:

  • Standard operating procedures
  • Checklists
  • Outlines of procedure guidelines

The goal is to reduce the risks of a wrongful death through proper protocols and procedures. In the construction industry, training is a must.

Appropriate training will be needed for:

  • Operating heavy machinery
  • Working with dangerous equipment
  • Performing dangerous tasks
  • Safety measures

If you provide training for your employees, your business will be at a lower risk of wrongful death claims.

Implement Safety Standards

Safety standards are key in professional services. The idea is that safety, above all else, is of the utmost importance. If you have safety standards in place, you'll be able to:

  • Reduce risks of injury
  • Reduce risks of death

Safety standards should be combined with training that all employees must follow. Businesses that have follow-up training and routine safety reviews have the most success with lowering injuries and death in the workplace.

Depending on the industry, there may already be safety standards and protocols that need to be followed.

OSHA, for example, has safety standards that businesses must follow. These safety standards protect businesses, employees and others from suffering injuries or death due to negligence. In dangerous industries, such as the construction industry, it's important to follow OSHA's standards.

A safe work environment is key to lowering employee death and injuries.

OSHA standards will help your business follow the law while reducing the risk of death and injury in your workplace. Combined with training, protocols, procedures and insurance, you'll limit your risk of a wrongful death lawsuit.

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