I Never Thought it Could Happen to Me: Jobsite Accidents, General Safety Mistakes, and Workplace Injury Prevention


So you think accidents can’t happen to you, eh? Think again. Are accidents preventable? To some extent, but for most small business owners, preventing workplace injuries completely will prove to be incredibly hard. And when things do go sideways, the injured party will sometimes sue.

Here’s a sobering fact — ninety percent of businesses experience a lawsuit.

And it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. People can sue for lots of reasons, and you’ll have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself. The results can be devastating — the average business liability suit costs at least $54,000. Yikes!

Who Needs General Liability Insurance?

You might be thinking, I’m a beautician not a builder, why on earth do I need general liability insurance?

Well, imagine you’re at a client’s home touching up her roots and you accidentally spill dark hair dye all over her brand-new sectional. Hair-raising!

Or maybe you’re a massage therapist and you knock over a Buddha statue while moving into a new spa. Not only is your karma dinged, but your new landlord is no longer feeling the zen.

Or let’s say you’re a personal trainer and your client trips over the dumbbells you left on the floor, injuring himself in the process. Not your most brilliant move!

In each of these scenarios, your clients can sue for damages. And you may need to fork over a lot of cash to pay for a lawsuit. But fear not — we’re here to help!

What is GL insurance, who needs it, and why

General liability (GL) insurance typically covers costs related to third-party accidents including property damage, bodily injury, and medical payments.

A workplace accident lawsuit can happen to the best of us, and GL can benefit almost any type of business. With GL protection, you don’t have to worry about putting your business or family at risk. GL typically will cover the costs of a claim — including resulting legal fees — up to your policy limit.

Here are a few more reasons why you may want GL insurance coverage:

  • It can prevent you from paying out of pocket for third-party damages and lawsuits that potentially could be devastating to your business.
  • It may cover your equipment in the event something is lost or stolen (this is called contents coverage, and it usually can be added to your GL policy).
  • It can provide protection if you were to sell a defective product that caused third-party injury or damage.
  • It can meet business insurance regulatory requirements, for example if you decide to rent or lease business space.
  • It might cover some accidents or damages that happen in your home office (that’s right — your homeowners’ insurance doesn’t usually cover business-related incidents!).

For more on how GL coverage can benefit your business, check out this information.

Workers’ Comp — important if you have employees

OK, so you’ve just opened a salon, hired your first employee, and your business is now protected with general liability insurance. Congratulations — great start!

But if you have employees — whether they’re part-time or full-time — there’s a good chance you’ll also need workers’ compensation (WC) insurance. Here’s why.

Let’s say your new receptionist slips and hits her head on the tile floor in your salon. She’s dazed and needs to go to the emergency room, where she’s checked for a concussion. Turns out she has to miss two weeks of work as a result.

Or a part-time employee is moving a heavy massage table and drops a metal leg corner on his foot, which requires a visit to the hospital and a few weeks of physical therapy.

Or imagine a new personal trainer you hired is re-racking those weights you left lying around and fractures a finger, requiring a trip to the hospital.

These are all tough breaks! But you — the employer — may be legally required to cover the costs. And workplace injuries are expensive! According to data collected in 2019 and 2020, the average cost of a workers’ comp claim was over $40,000. But we’ve got you! Simply Business can help you find an affordable workers’ comp insurance policy to keep your employees protected and meet your state’s workers’ comp requirements, if applicable.

Workers’ Comp insurance — what it is, who needs it, and why

Workers’ comp insurance typically covers medical bills, lost wages, and legal costs associated with an employee who got sick or hurt on the job.

So if an employee gets injured while working for you, workers’ comp could cover those resulting financial costs. If those same employees had to miss work to recover, your workers’ comp insurance policy could also cover their lost wages. And should the worst ever happen, your policy could pay out death benefits to your employee’s loved ones.

In summary, workers’ comp can cover:

  • Medical payments
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Death benefits

Even if your employee helps out only on the weekends, you may be legally obligated to have workers’ comp insurance. And not just because it’s the right thing to do. Most states require business owners with employees to carry some form of workers’ compensation insurance.

Wondering how much coverage you’ll need? Check out our state-based insurance hub. You’ll find general WC guidelines for your state and any other insurance info you want to know so that you can choose the best workers’ comp insurance for your business.

We have more information on how workers’ comp can help protect your growing business here.

Professional Liability — even computer jockeys might need insurance

If you’re someone like me who does most of your work online, you might be thinking, risk — what risk? Unfortunately, costly mistakes can happen to those of us who spend our days in front of a computer.

Imagine you’re a web designer rushing to wrap up a project and you fail to notice that one of your images could be interpreted as explicit. The site goes live, and your client’s audience is upset. The incident harms the business’s reputation, and they lose money during their launch.

Or you’re a video editor and you’ve been hired to assemble a client’s precious wedding footage. But your intern mistakenly deleted all the clips and you’re unable to restore it. Your client is devastated and demands you make the situation right.

Or let’s say you’re a CPA and tax deadlines are looming. In your haste, you incorrectly record a client’s income, causing him to owe twice as much in taxes. Later your client discovers the discrepancy and hires another accountant to fix the tax return.

In all three of these situations, your client can sue you for negligence. But don’t panic — professional liability insurance may cover the costs of these claims, up to your policy’s limits. Technology can be fickle, no matter how careful you are, so investing in professional liability insurance is a smart business move.

Professional Liability insurance — what it is, who needs it, and why

Generally speaking, with professional liability (PL) coverage, if a client sues you for negligence, your business, and even your family’s finances, likely won’t be affected by any resulting lawsuits and claims.

So if you’re in the business of giving advice or providing other services, you may want to consider PL coverage.

Professional liability insurance typically covers:

  • Negligence or alleged negligence
  • Legal defense costs
  • Claims involving libel and/or slander
  • Claims and damages

You can learn more about professional liability insurance here.

Inland Marine insurance — expect the unexpected

If you’re an insurance-savvy contractor, you already may be protected with GL, WL, and even PL. And you might be thinking, I’m all set — right? Well, not exactly.

Imagine you’re at a job site and you step away for a quick lunch. When you return, you discover that someone broke into your truck and stole your tools.

Or you’re a handyman and you’ve rented a pressure washer for a project. A tornado rolls through town and decimates your storage unit. Some of your tools are scattered, and others are destroyed, including the rented pressure washer.

Without inland marine insurance coverage, you face repairing or replacing the equipment on your own. And that could potentially put you in financial trouble. With coverage, you would likely be covered for repairs and replacements, up to your policy’s limit.

Sure, you won’t need your policy if you never experience a covered loss. But as a seasoned pro, you know to expect the unexpected. And we can help!

Inland Marine Insurance — what it is, who needs it, and why

Inland marine insurance coverage will typically help to financially protect the tools and equipment you use while in transport or on a job site. Inland marine coverage can protect your business from occurrences such as:

  • Damage to business property
  • Loss of business property
  • Theft of business property

An inland marine policy typically covers property that is:

  • In transit
  • On movable vehicles
  • Stored offsite

You may take great precautions to protect your property, but regardless, you could still experience theft or an event that causes damage. In that case, having coverage can reduce your risk of being put in financial jeopardy.

Your policy also can protect you if your business has possession of someone else’s property that gets damaged or stolen. In that case, your policy may cover repairs and replacements, up to the policy’s limit.

For more on Inland Marine Insurance, check this out.

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Protect What You Have

With Simply Business, you can shop, compare, and buy business insurance policies from some of the nation’s most trusted insurers — all in mere minutes. Tell us a little bit about your business. We do the legwork. You choose the policy that’s right for your business. Online or on the phone.

Small business insurance is what we do, offering the coverages small business owners need most. And we customize them specifically for what you do. That’s how we’ve helped insure more than 50,000 businesses across the U.S.

So whether your business needs general liability, workers’ comp, professional liability, or inland marine, we can help. Use our free quote tool to get policy options from the nation’s top insurers.

Got questions? We can help there, too. Our licensed insurance pros can get you the answers you’re looking for and get you covered — often on the same-day call. You can reach them at 844-654-7272, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (ET).

If you see a policy option you like, you can click to buy it. It really is that simple!

Courtney Hayes

Born and raised in the fishing port of Gloucester, MA, I grew up listening to the sea stories of local fishermen. My first job was “chum girl” on my dad’s tuna boat, where I spent my formative years covered in fish guts. Since then, I’ve worked as a researcher, blogger, and writer for documentary films. When not at work, you can find me surfing the cold waters of the North Atlantic or searching for warmer waves around the world.

Courtney writes on a number of topics such as risk assessment, starting a small business, and financial resources.