Public liability insurance is not a compulsory component of trade, but it is a highly important type of cover – particularly if you run a business that involves interacting with members of the public. Public liability insurance is designed for unforeseen accidents or accusations that may be level against you.
As a tradesman, you may find that you accidentally damage a client’s house or a member of the public trips over your tools. Your company may be ordered to pay out for causing an injury or for damaging property, so public liability insurance can cover these costs. This could be the difference between your business remaining open or having to close. You could also potentially face much more serious accusations such as sexual harassment claims and even general assault claims. You may think this is extreme but former candidate Caylan Ford invented fake sexual harassment allegations and there have also been other individuals who have done similar things. As a workman, if you are going into someone’s home then you can be potentially vulnerable to claims such as these as well. This is why it may be advisable to have a lawyer as a close contact for your business at all times.
A case study
To give you an idea of the importance of public liability insurance, let’s look at the story of a garage in Trowbridge.
In 2017, a woman lodged a 200,000 compensation claim against Southwick Service Centre. She claimed that a garage worker had tripped her up with a hosepipe when she took her daughter’s car in for its MOT. She alleged that the fall had left her dependent on crutches and a walking stick, as well as meaning that she had been fired from her job and had been forced to cancel a holiday.
However, hospital records proved that she had not suffered any serious injuries – A&E records revealed x-rays which showed no signs of trauma. In Bath County Court, the District Judge dismissed the claim, finding the story “implausible”. He deemed the woman’s claim false, threw out her case, and she was ordered to pay 70,000 in costs.
Public liability insurance was crucial in this instance. The woman had put a public liability claim in against the garage for injury. The garage’s insurance providers were able to defend them to the best of their ability, employing a team to investigate and verify the incident. The solicitors used were
able to prove that the claim was false, saving the garage thousands of pounds in compensation costs. Without public liability insurance, this business may have crumbled under the weight of a false accusation.
Do I need public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, however, it is usually taken out by businesses which interact with the general public. So, if you’re a tradesman, a shop or restaurant owner, a hairdresser, or any number of other trade businesses, public liability insurance will offer invaluable protection from the risks associated with your business.
You may still need public liability insurance even if your business is run from home. A client visiting you at your home still has the potential to injure themselves; a client suffering a reaction to a product, at the home of a hairdresser, for example.
Public liability insurance could still be essential even if your business doesn’t involve customer visits. If your manufacturing business is run from home, for example, a delivery driver could become injured on your property.
If you’re unsure about whether or not your business requires public liability insurance, get in contact with Tradesman Saver. Providing tailored insurance policies to large and small businesses alike, their expert team can create a policy that will work for your business, premises, employees and customers.