If you own a shopping center, you understand that there are many potential mishaps that could befall your strip mall – and, since you’re the one who owns the place, you. There’s always the possibility of a property-related loss like a fire, windstorm, or vandalism incident, but what about other costly losses? We’re talking about liability-related lawsuits. Our society is an extremely litigious one, after all, and your worst nightmare might be getting sued by someone who got hurt on your property. So, what can you do to avoid seeing that nightmare become a reality? We’ve got 5 tips to help you avoid general liability claims.
First of all, why is liability such a big deal for the owners of shopping centers?
The thing is that you have a lot of people coming and going from your shopping center every day. You’ve got the shoppers who want to linger and pass time. You’ve got the errand-runners who are all business as they charge towards the store. Maybe you have hungry diners coming to visit a restaurant. Then there might be some small children who are howling their displeasure at being dragged along. Anyways, the point is – there are a lot of people.
And since there are so many people, there’s always the chance that someone could get hurt. What if one of those shoppers trips and falls in the parking lot on the way to the store of their choice? What if a child toddling through the lot catches a toe on a crack in the pavement and goes flying, cracking their head open on the asphalt? What if someone breaks an arm after tripping over a curb? Or what if someone wipes out on ice that formed on your sidewalk and breaks their wrists?
The short answer is – they could sue.
Since you’re the owner of the shopping center and it’s your responsibility to maintain and care for both the parking lot and the strip mall itself, you could be held liable for the bodily injury that the person who fell sustained. You could end up facing a hefty lawsuit, which means legal expenses, court-ordered judgments or a settlement, and so on. Yikes.
(Although that’s where strip mall insurance comes into play. We can help you get the insurance you need for your shopping center so that you’re protected in the event of claims like this. Just fill out our online quote form or give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help!)
Anyways, let’s move on to how you can avoid general liability insurance claims at your shopping center.
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6 ways to avoid liability claims at your shopping center.
1. Keep an eye on your flooring.
Make sure that any floor coverings you have on your premises are smooth and free of holes, cracks, or uneven sections that could cause someone to trip and fall. Of course, you want to avoid the insurance claim, but you also don’t want any of your guests or customers to get hurt. If you have any carpet, make sure that it’s not worn or uneven at all. And if it’s tile or another flooring material, make sure that there are no pits, holes, or cracks. Repair any issues promptly and keep up with your flooring.
2. Have plenty of exits and mark them clearly.
It’s really important to have plenty of exits at your shopping center. If there was ever an emergency, people need to be able to safely evacuate the building and get out of harm’s way. You need to make sure that all of your exits are clearly marked and that there are enough of them to handle an emergency situation.
3. Have proper emergency lighting.
Well, people have to be able to see where they’re going right?
If there was ever an emergency and the power went bye-bye, you need to have plenty of emergency lighting on the interior of the building. Have a backup lighting system just in case there’s ever an issue with the power.
4. Keep your parking lot in good repair.
Did you notice how a lot of our examples involved parking lots and sidewalks?
There’s a good reason for it – parking lots can be hazardous. It’s really important that you maintain the pavement in the parking lot and eliminate any potential hazards before they cause a problem. Repair any potholes or cracks promptly and make sure there are no uneven sections that could trip someone up. We’ve all tripped and gone flying at one point in our lives, so you know how easy it is to have a fall. The goal is to reduce the chance of that happening by removing anything or fixing anything that could cause someone to trip. Because no one wants to fall on their face. That’s no fun.
Anyways. That parking lot is dangerous. Keep yours as safe as possible.
5. Remove snow and ice.
If you’re in a climate where snow and ice are a very real thing in the winter, make sure you have a plan for how to deal with them. Snow and ice are, well, slippery and treacherous. Don’t be caught off-guard by bad weather and know how you’re going to get your parking lot and walkways back to normal.
6. Have good exterior lighting.
You also need to make sure that you have good exterior lighting outside of your strip mall. Depending on when the stores in the shopping center are open, people might be heading to their cars or into the stores after dark, and they need to be able to see where they’re going. And having good lighting can also deter crime and keep your shopping center safe. Make sure that your premises are lit up well and that you take appropriate measures for security to make it safer.
So, as you can see, being the owner of a shopping center comes with a good amount of liability risk. But these risks can be managed by taking precautions and taking good care of your premises. You can also mitigate your risk by getting the right shopping center insurance, and that’s where our agents can help. We can help you get quotes for strip mall insurance so you can get the insurance you need to gain some peace of mind. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.