What Is Liability?
Liability as it relates to businesses is a serious matter. A negligence lawsuit can break a company, so it is important that business owners take measures to limit their exposure. A College Station business litigation attorney can work with you to make sure that you do all that is necessary to minimize the risk of a liability suit.
Types of Business Liability
Businesses almost universally carry liability insurance. Indeed, one may be hard-pressed to obtain a business loan without insurance. That said, businesses by nature expose themselves to certain risks. If yours is a restaurant, a patron may accidentally slip and fall. If you produce automobile parts, a defects lawsuit can occur if an error in manufacture occurs. An employee may try to sue you if she is hurt on the job. All liability cases are founded upon duty of care.
Duty of Care
There are four basic elements to the principle of duty of care:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to prevent injury.
- The duty was breached through negligence or intention.
- The plaintiff was injured.
- The injury can be directly attributed to the failure of duty of care.
While this seems very simple and straightforward, a College Station business litigation attorney will tell you that liability issues can be very complex. For instance, the defendant must have had an adequate opportunity to fix the issue, or know about it. If a child leaves a toy on a common stairway in an apartment building, and five minutes later a neighbor trips on the toy, the victim may not have a liability claim, for the apartment manager will have had no opportunity even to know the problem existed. Another complicating factor is contributory negligence. In some cases an injury victim's actions helped precipitate an accident. If the court finds this is the case, the percentage of liability the defendant bears will be reduced accordingly.