Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C. | A-M Law | Attorneys | Counselors

Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C.

Insurance Defense Counsel In Jurisdictions Throughout Michigan

How to build a defense against property-based negligence claims

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Property Liability Defense

Maintaining safe premises is part of attracting customers or clients to your business. However, circumstances can still arise that result in visitors to your company’s facilities bringing a premises liability claim against the organization.

Typically, you will already have invested in a general business liability policy, if not a specialized premises liability policy, that limits your exposure in such scenarios. Of course, even with insurance, a large claim alleging negligence on the part of your business can have significant financial repercussions and could damage your reputation.

Provided that your business and facilities were obviously compliant with all regulatory standards, the plaintiff will likely build their claim by alleging negligence. How can a business protect itself against claims of negligent property maintenance?

Use business records to prove your point

Negligence means that a reasonable person would have made different choices. The records from your business’s daily operations could help show that you have taken reasonable steps to protect visitors from any obvious risks. The maintenance and security departments at the organization probably keep internal records related to what tasks they perform and when.

For example, the security team may have to sign a sheet confirming that they have performed a walk-through every hour on the hour. The more detailed the records are relating to maintenance and cleaning records, the easier it may be for your company to show that its attempts to keep the facility safe meet the standard of what a reasonable person would consider necessary.

There could also be security camera footage showing how frequently staff members mop the floor or clean the bathrooms. Those internal records can play a major part in the business’s attempt to defend against premises liability claims.

Statements from staff can play a role as well

The people who work at the company, especially those who were present on the day that the incident allegedly occurred, can provide crucial insight to the courts about what occurred that day that may have led to unusual delays in addressing a spill.

When there are strange and extenuating circumstances that lead to issues at the business, the situation may not constitute negligence. When a reasonable person would not be able to prevent the same situation, what occurred may not be the result of negligence.

Rather than paying out a large claim about an incident that you believe does not reflect true negligence on the part of your company, you will likely benefit more from fighting back against premises liability accusations based on assertions of negligence.