Public liability insurance is vital for anyone who comes into contact with members of the public and insurance for dog walkers are no different. In fact, because dog walkers are more likely to come into contact with members of the public that people working in many other businesses, public liability dog walker’s liability insurance is even more important for them.
The reason a dog walker needs public liability insurance is due to the fact that we’re living in a compensation culture and the number of compensation claims is increasing. Compensation claims are expensive to settle.
As well as paying any compensation claims made against dog walkers, the public liability insurer will also handle the compensation claims made against them. This means that the dog walker doesn’t need to worry about dealing with solicitors and can concentrate on running their dog walking business instead.
What does public liability insurance cover?
Public liability insurance covers you against compensation claims that have been made against you by members of the public who claim that you are responsible for them being injured or for their property being damaged.
It only covers you if you’re legally liable to pay them compensation. It does not cover any goodwill gestures that you might decide to make.
In addition to paying any compensation award, the insurance also covers any legal costs and other associated expenses so you aren’t left out of pocket.
The cost of claims
Most people will have seen the numerous adverts for “no win, no fee” personal injury management firms offering to get compensation for anyone who has been injured. These have resulted in an exponential increase in the number of compensation claims being made because people can make claims now with no financial risk. And claims can be expensive to settle.
A minor dog bite because you failed to keep control of a dog you were walking will cost a few hundred pounds in compensation, but by the time the legal and other costs are taken into account the total cost of the compensation claim will be in excess of a thousand pounds.
If something you do causes someone to break their leg, the compensation award could well exceed £10,000, and again, the legal and other costs will mean the settlement figure will end up being considerably higher. If the injured party is unable to work, they will also be able to claim any lost wages from you. The claim could easily end up costing £25,000.
Serious injuries can result in final settlements in the region of ten times as much. A spinal injury could result in a compensation award of £250,000 and clearly, the lost wages will add a significant amount to that figure. The claimant would also be entitled to claim the costs of adapting their home, by installing a stair lift if they were no longer able to use the stairs, for example.
Although public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the same way that employer’s liability insurance is, the potential cost of a claim and the impact that such a claim could have on your business means that you should not consider operating without this type of insurance cover.
Compensation claims can often involve complex legal arguments. Most claims are settled on the basis of how previous claims have been settled. These previous settlements are called legal precedents.
Public liability insurers have specialist teams that are legally trained so that they can handle any compensation claims made against you on your behalf. This means that if a claim is made against you that isn’t valid, they can successfully defend you. It also means that they know how much compensation to pay if you are legally liable and won’t overpay.
By keeping your claims costs low, your public liability insurance company can keep your insurance premiums low.
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