Halloween certainly has us thinking about ghouls and ghosts and things that go bump in the night. But what if those things going bump in the night are your car bumper hitting your neighbor’s mailbox, teenagers hopping the fence around your pool, or one of your employees slipping and falling at work?
In all of these examples, you can end up being liable for the cost of making things right again.
First of all, let’s talk about what being liable and liability mean.
The definition of liability is when you are in a state of being responsible for something, particularly by law.
You are liable when you have a legal obligation to take care of issue at hand, such as paying for the damaged mailbox, or being able to take care of your employee’s injuries and time off of work. A legal obligation follows when a person is negligent, a legal term that can best be described as being careless.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Liability?
In short, avoid carelessness, which is sometimes easier said than done. For those instances where your careless conduct contributed to an injury, the way that most people protect themselves from being liable for potentially expensive problems is by having liability insurance coverage. With coverage like car insurance, homeowners insurance and worker’s compensation insurance, if you own a business, you have some protection from the liability associated with driving a car, owning a home, and running your business.
Your liability insurance may protect you (or your family members or business partners) if you cause an accident, damage someone’s property, or if someone is injured, and you are found to be legally responsible for the damage. It’s important to periodically check in with your insurance agent to make sure that you have the coverage you need. Always check when situations in your life change, such as buying a new home or car. And it is best to hire an agent that you can speak to and describe your family and living situation who can explain your options.
Common Types of Personal Liability Insurance
The two most common forms of personal liability insurance are:
Car Insurance: Driving a car is a convenience that also comes with significant risks. Two out of three drivers will be involved in an injury accident during their lifetime, and you can expect to be involved in an accident once every 10-15 years. If you are in an accident, you are legally responsible for the damage you cause — in other words — you are liable. To protect yourself from this liability, you should always have a sufficient amount of up-to-date car insurance. The State of Wisconsin requires minimum liability coverage amounts, and proof of insurance at any traffic stops or accidents. Your personal car insurance may also provider coverage while you are driving a rental car – check your policy to be sure.
Homeowners Insurance: This insurance covers you from the liabilities you may face if you own a home, such as a slip and fall accident by your pool, or even an injury caused by your pet. Your homeowner insurance liability coverage may also protect you from damage that happens away from your home such as accidental damage to a hotel room – check your policy or talk to your insurance agent to learn what is covered.
What is Your Liability as a Business Owner?
If you own your own business, it is essential that you have protection from liability. Three common forms of insurance that can keep you safe are:
- General liability insurance, often referred to as a CGL policy
- Worker’s Compensation insurance
- Commercial Auto
The coverage you choose to carry may vary, but Wisconsin employers that meet certain requirements are required to carry Worker’s Compensation insurance. Having Worker’s Compensation insurance ensures that you will be protected from being liable for an injured employee’s medical care, lost wages, and any additional damages. Having the right coverage can protect you from a variety of forms of liability like property damage, personal injuries, and even injuries or accidents caused by your employees that can occur during your normal business operations.
Liability can be scary, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your business. Talking to experts like your insurance agent and your attorney will ensure that you have to coverage you need in order to sleep well through even the scariest bumps in the night.
If you are still looking for the right lawyer for you, consider filling out a free case evaluation and talking with a Milwaukee personal injury attorney today. You’ll see the difference when you have the opportunity to talk directly with an expert Milwaukee personal injury lawyer.
At Murphy & Prachthauser we are attorneys who practice the law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a personal injury lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.