“What to Do in Case of an On-Site Injury"

Risk Management

In an article published for Risk Management on Aug.1, 2018, Dan Kingsley provided insight on steps for property owners to take following an on-site injury to ensure compliance. Property owners and occupiers face exposure and risk for a facility based on their responsibility to exercise ordinary care to protect people from unreasonable risks of harm of which the owner is aware, including inspecting the premises to discover potentially dangerous conditions and taking steps to rectify the situation. It is important to document these efforts as they occur.

It’s clearly important to promote safety and prevent injuries from happening in the first place, but it is crucial to take immediate steps when an incident arises to minimize exposure and risk. As a first step, property owners should establish a protocol for responding to an accident. After ensuring the injured person has received the attention needed, an investigation into the facts of the incident using a standardized report should ensue. This investigation process can include:

  1. obtaining information about the people involved in the incident and witnesses;
  2. taking photographs of the scene to provide context for the accident;
  3. asking the injured party to write a statement about the incident, including the cause and any sustained injuries;
  4. asking the supervisor and witnesses to write similar statements; and
  5. establishing whether the incident was documented on tape from facility cameras (and preserving this documentation if so).

Investigative process and evidence should be well preserved, including ensuring that nothing is erased, recorded over or otherwise destroyed. This information can be valuable for any disputes arising from an injury. Further, lost evidence could lead to claims that the company improperly destroyed evidence.

As important as minimizing risk after an incident is learning from the incident, so that (1) it doesn’t happen again and (2) post-accident procedures can be reviewed and improved.

“Overall, implementing both proactive procedures and response protocols can provide multiple benefits for companies operating stores and other premises where injuries to patrons, contractors and employees may occur,” said Kingsley. “The implications of preventative steps and reactionary measures, as they relate to litigation, should not be overlooked. Rather, they need to be recognized and understood to ensure an incident is evaluated with the best information possible.”

To view the full article please click here.


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