How to Protect Your Business from Personal Injury Lawsuits

injury, Wheaton business lawyersIf you own a business, there is a good chance that your employees, suppliers, vendors, and, obviously, your customers will regularly on your property. You will, undoubtedly, work hard to protect the well-being of each person who visits your business and to give them a safe and comfortable experience at your place of business.

Unfortunately, however, accidents do happen from time to time, and when they occur, people are sometimes injured. Believe it or not, injury-causing accidents can even occur on your property, leaving you potentially open to a personal injury claim. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to limit your possible liability if someone is even injured while visiting or working at your company.

Proactive Measures

The best way to limit your personal injury liability, of course, is to prevent accidents from happening as much as possible. This means that you need to have preventive measures in place against potential injuries instead of reacting to accidents when they occur. Such preventive measures generally include comprehensive safety policies, procedures, and protocols throughout your business.

You should also identify possible areas of concern, such as doorways with mats on the floor that could become a tripping hazard. Similarly, understand and anticipate weather-related issues, such as accumulations of snow and ice and damage caused to your parking lots and walkways by exposure to the elements.

Necessary but dangerous maintenance activities should be conducted outside of your peak customer hours, for sure, and outside of business hours completely if possible. Making repairs, mopping floors, and replacing light bulbs in the ceiling, for example, can most likely be done before you open or after you close for the day.

Constant Vigilance

Having a plan is great, but you need to implement it and make it part of your business culture. If safety is a common topic that is addressed through regular communication, training sessions, and meetings, it will never be far from your team’s minds. Be open to safety ideas from every single member of your staff. If an idea will reduce the chance of an accident, it should not matter who came up with it—get it implemented as soon as you can.

Your safety policies should be clearly written out in your employee handbook, which should define the responsibilities of each person in your company for preventing injury-causing accidents. You might also consider including safety violations in your company’s disciplinary policy, as well as offering incentives for meeting safety-related goals. While you might not be able to stop every accident, actions such as these can demonstrate that you are not negligent in regard to safety.

Adequate Insurance

If you have employees, you must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover them in the event of a work-related injury. However, there is no state or federal requirement for your company to have commercial liability insurance. Without liability insurance, a single accident could potentially bankrupt you and your company. Before you speak to an insurance broker, talk to a qualified attorney. A broker is going to try to sell you policies based on the commission that he or she will receive, while your lawyer will objectively help you determine your potential risks and the amount of liability protection you need. Then you can find the liability policy or policies that offer the desired level of security.

Call a Wheaton Business Law Attorney

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC, our experienced DuPage County business lawyers can help you protect yourself and your company in the event of an injury-causing accident. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team today.

 

Source:

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/iwcc/resources/Pages/faq.aspx

Thinking of Buying a Business? Watch Out for These Warning Signs

buying a business, Wheaton business lawyersAre you considering buying a business? Being a business owner is a challenging and rewarding career, but it can also be a risky endeavor. Many entrepreneurs purchase a standalone company or a franchise location with the best intentions, but then later realize that they have gotten into something they wish they could get out of. While you are on the hunt for your new business venture, make sure to be on the lookout for the following telltale signs that a particular business purchase is not in your best interest.

The Franchisor Seems Focused Only on Upfront Fees

Many potential business owners choose to invest in a franchise location of an existing company because it is often less risky than investing in a standalone company. When you buy a franchise, you already have an established brand and business model. Furthermore, you will likely receive guidance, supplies, and training from the corporate team. However, an unprofessional or incompetent franchisor can nearly ruin your chances of success. If the franchisor you are considering purchasing from offers to decrease future royalties in exchange for increased upfront fees, this could be a red flag that the company is desperate for funds.

The Deal Feels Too Good to Be True

In business, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Make sure to do your due diligence and research any potential businesses thoroughly. Check that the information provided by the current owner matches financial documentation and records. If you can, look at the last five years of the company’s federal and state tax returns. When a deal seems impossibly good, this is usually an indication that you are missing part of the puzzle.

The Current Business Owner Lies or Withholds Information

Anyone selling a business should expect to provide potential buyers with ample information about the business. If a business owner is not interested in providing you the information you need to make an informed decision, he or she may be hiding something. Business owners who are worried about sharing sensitive financial data or other company information should utilize a nondisclosure contract to protect themselves. Concerns over confidentiality is not a valid excuse for withholding critical information from potential buyers. The owner should also be able to tell you why he or she is selling. An owner who cannot answer this question may be selling because the business is already failing.

Contact a DuPage County Business Lawyer

For help with buying a business or for other business law concerns, speak with an experienced Wheaton business law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield and McGrath LLC. Call 630-665-2500 today to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable team of business law professionals.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/195020

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/07/06/the-top-ten-red-flags-to-watch-out-for-when-buying-a-franchise/

Common Reasons to Consider Selling Your Business

selling your business, DuPage County business lawyerFor many people, owning and operating a small (or medium-sized) private business is the realization of a lifelong dream. Reaching one’s dreams, of course, does not happen without many years of hard work, focused research, and an attitude of perseverance during the difficult times. When you stop to think about how much time, talent, and treasure that you have invested in your venture, you could be forgiven for being hesitant to realize that your run with the company is nearing its end. There are a few things you should keep in mind that might be indications that you should consider selling your business.

Reason #1: You Are Losing Your Passion

When you first started your business, you probably woke up every morning excited to get to work. Building a successful business and satisfying customers were more than daily operations—they were ideals that drove and motivated you into working as hard as you could.

They say that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. While this may not be exactly true, as many days certainly require hard work, things are certainly easier while your passion for your business is at its peak. As the years have passed, however, you might find that running your business feels more like a chore than ever before. If you notice that you are no longer as excited about your company as you once were, it is probably time to start thinking about how you will get out.

Reason #2: Too Big, Too Soon

Believe it or not, it is possible for a business to grow too much too fast. When your company was small and you had just a few people working for you, you might have been fully capable of running day-to-day operations as well as performing your “owner’s” duties. If the business has exploded, however, and now you are faced with serving more customers that you initially expected to serve, the scale of the business could be beyond your capabilities.

It is important to recognize and acknowledge your own limitations. In a case like this, you could even be looking at a tremendous financial opportunity. A fast-growing company is often extremely attractive to larger companies and investors who might be willing to give you top dollar for the business you have built. If you are interested in doing so, you might even be able to remain a part of the company in some capacity after the sale is completed.

Reason #3: An Economic Downturn

Some industries are built around annual business cycles. Others have cycles that are better measured in decades. Still other sectors explode in popularity all at once and then fade in obscurity—sometimes permanently. Business trends and advances in technology can have a direct impact on your company’s success and long-term profitability, and you may need to adapt or get out of the way. For example, the online shopping boom of the last few years has pushed many “brick-and-mortar” retailers to the brink of collapse. If the evolution of your industry has you seriously questioning your future, now could be the time to consider other options.

Call a Wheaton Business Lawyer

For more information about selling a business or advice about knowing when to sell, contact an experienced business law attorney in DuPage County. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today.

Sources:

https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-are-killing-list-2017-8

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247990