Responding to Injuries Minimizes Potential Lawsuits
What may seem like a standard slip and fall on campus can lead to all kinds of injuries. But a broken hip may be the least of your worries if your response lacks urgency and compassion. Beyond the immediate medical need, an injured person may feel like his or her lifestyle or employment is affected. A thoughtful, caring response is at the heart of ministry, but it can potentially avoid a future lawsuit.
Whenever someone is injured on your college campus, not only is it important to get them medical attention right away, but it’s also important to alert your insurance company as soon as possible. “We deal with injuries like this every day. We’re here to help take this burden off your plate,” stated Kay Landwehr, a litigation specialist in casualty claims at Brotherhood Mutual.
Once your insurance company is aware of the injury, it can make sure the coverage responds appropriately to help cover medical bills. This goes a long way toward helping individuals feel like they’re being cared for by the organization.
Paying for Slip and Falls
Most general liability policies have something called med pay or medical payments coverage, and it’s injury protection that’s included in your policy. When someone falls on your property, med pay kicks in to help with medical bills or deductibles. It’s no-fault coverage, meaning there’s no blame or admission of guilt attached to the payment for either the organization or the injured person.
Sometimes an organization is afraid to file a med pay claim, fearing the claim will affect its insurance policy. That sort of belief can come back to hurt your institution. Offering med pay is a proactive step that can help a ministry avoid costly litigation. It’s a way to keep good relations with your students, faculty, staff, and guests.
The other benefit to med pay is that it pays first, before any Medicare payments.* This can be an important factor as you host events on your campus. Since many events take place after dark, those unfamiliar with your campus may have a difficult time navigating stairs and parking lots. If you do have an older person fall and injure themselves, file your claim right away. Insurance carriers have reporting requirements associated with Medicare, so there are crucial steps they must follow right away.
Finally, making sure you have workers’ compensation coverage for employees is an important way to show care for those who may get injured on the job. Even if your state doesn’t require workers’ comp, it can help reduce the risk of a negligence lawsuit.
*All coverage decisions and payment terms are subject to their terms, conditions, coverage limits, limitations, and exclusions. For precise detail of coverages and payment terms, please refer to actual policy forms.
The information provided in this article is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program. Your organization is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws.
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