As a business owner, you are always careful. Nothing can go wrong, right? Sadly, no matter how carefully you double check everything you do, the possibility of a lawsuit is waiting around the corner. In fact, our experience at Legally Mine suggests that it’s not a matter of if you’ll be sued — but when and what for.
Business owners, especially medical practitioners, are legally liable for any number of problems or outcomes. Sometimes, even if you do everything right, something still may go awry, leaving you liable. You’d be surprised at how easily a mistake, misunderstanding, or bad outcome can escalate into a lawsuit that puts your reputation and finances on the line. The team at Legally Mine has reviewed a number of cases showcasing how a lawsuit against a small business can develop. Take a look at some of the most revealing real-life cases.
1. Parking Lot Tumble
A postal worker fell and injured his knee in the parking lot of a McDonald’s franchise owned by Joseph Fix. As a result of the injury, the postal worker missed five months of work — and sued a number of people, including Mr. Fix. The case went to court, where a jury returned a verdict against Mr. Fix, who was held liable for $243,750.
Source: Hunt v. C.H.A.D. Enterprises, Inc., 183 Mich. App. 59; 454 N. W2d 188 (Ct.
App. Mich. 1990)
2. Marital Problems
A woman who worked at a privately owned and operated motel arrived early for her shift — and was confronted by her enraged, drunk, and violent husband. Feeling threatened, she enlisted the help of individuals nearby instead of calling the police. Unexpectedly, her husband shot and seriously injured two people in the lobby. Later, the court held the motel’s owner liable for his off-duty employee’s failure to protect the people in the motel lobby. The damages awarded were not recorded.
Source: S.C. Catlett, d/b/a King’s Inn. V Stewart, 304 Ark. 637; 804 S. W2d 699 (1991)
3. Slick Roads
Patricia Marcoux was seriously injured when the back wheels of a semi truck skidded into her lane and clipped her car. Her injuries, which included a broken leg and wrist, required multiple surgeries and left her partly disabled. The truck driver was accused of driving too fast in adverse weather, and the employer, Farm Service and Supplies, was found liable for $4,190,000.
Source: Marcoux v. Farm Service and Supplies, Inc., 290 FSupp.2d 457 (S.D. NY. 2003)
4. Pharmacy Violence
Arthur Fendelander bumped into another customer as he entered a Walgreens in New Jersey. Fendelander said to the man, “Excuse you.” Not ten minutes later, the customer found him in the pharmacy section and beat him unconscious. Fendelander went into a coma and died four days later. His wife and estate sued Walgreens for not providing enough security or calling the police soon enough. The pharmacy ended up settling the suit for $750,000.
Source: Estate of Fendelander v. Walgreens Pharmacy
5. Scaffolding Fall
A bricklayer working for a general contractor in Illinois fell through a gap in scaffolding, falling 8 feet and injuring his knee. The bricklayer sued the general contractor for failing to provide a safe workplace and was awarded $2.21 million.
Source: Kulasik v. Boller Construction Corporation Inc.
If you find yourself or your small business in a legal bind, get help. Call the experts at Legally Mine for a free consultation.