With the product liability lawsuit settlement median being a staggering $1.5 million, small businesses cannot afford to ignore the prospect of these lawsuits. Injuries on consumers, lack of sufficient warnings, and even wrongful death that can be directly or indirectly linked to a product’s use can put any business on a collision course with the law and potentially set it back a fortune.
For this reason, every business owner needs to know where these claims and lawsuits originate and work to nip them in the bud rather than waste resources on fighting them. Read on for a few steps that help protect your finances and reputation.
Sign contracts with suppliers
Just because you are in the middle of the supply chain doesn’t mean you are immune to product liability risks. In fact, you could serve as a cushion for the real liable party if you aren’t careful about who you do business with.
Since you can’t trust anyone, it is best to conduct an in-depth risk assessment on your suppliers to ensure there are no obvious risks that might land you in trouble. That is to help you determine who to work with and who not to. Whoever you commit to working with should sign a contract compelling them to accept liability if mistakes from their side invite lawsuits.
Get sufficient product liability insurance
The point of taking proactive measures is to minimize the risk of product liability lawsuits, not to eliminate it. You need to have a plan for when the balloon goes up. One easy and straightforward way to brace up is to get sufficient product liability insurance based on the type of product you sell and your risk assessment findings.
Safety should be a priority in both the theory and practical stages of your production process. Work to eliminate the risks and offer a safe product, as that’s the only way to protect yourself from product liability lawsuits and maintain your reputation. Keep in mind all hazards and dangers in various stages of the production process, and ensure all preventable risks are scrapped. Use government standards and industry certifications as guidelines for safe material obtaining and processing, product packaging, and other processes in between.
Seek legal counsel
The legal domain is punctuated by a labyrinth of confusing processes that you cannot maneuver alone, especially against a determined plaintiff. A corporate lawyer will not only represent you in court during lawsuits but also assess your products to clear them of legal vulnerabilities before they’re made available to the final consumer. Established law firms such as Duboff have lawyers that have handled dozens of product liability cases and are familiar with the course of such claims and lawsuits. Ensure whoever you hire possesses specialized skills and is highly skilled at their craft.
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to take the bad with the good. Product liability lawsuits are among the most conspicuous elements on the flipside. Ensure you have a clear picture of what you are up against and use the above tips to shield your business.