How to protect you restaurant when you are claimed against

I’m sure most of you have all heard about the infamous “Swing” controversy over the past 10 days involving TD Maria Bailey and the Dean Hotel. For those of you who haven’t heard. A Fine Gael TD recently began a legal case against the Dean Hotel in Dublin after she feel from a swing that was located on the premises and issues arose about the claim culture in Ireland.

Today, we would like to give you some advice should you face a compensation claim against your business and the steps you can take to make this process easier.

Seek legal advice:
You hoped it would never come but if you find yourself in the position to have received a legal letter of action from an aggrieved party, it is important you get in touch with your solicitor immediately and seek legal advice. 

Our recommendation is to seek legal advice first and select your solicitor (if you haven’t partnered with a trusted one already) based on that advice. It is important to asses what resources will be needed to fight this claim and where you stand from a legal point of view.

Contact your insurance company about the complaint:
If you have taken the adequate steps of having your business insured under general liability insurance it’s important to contact your insurer as soon as possible and begin the task of providing documents as you proceed. It is also important to NOT assume that you are covered and check first before you begin any proceeding as you will need to factor in the costs of these before potential proceedings begin.

Decide how to proceed:
Usually after you receive your legal letter you have a limited timeframe to respond (depending on the type of allegation). Before you do you need to take the below into consideration:

  • Admittance or denial of each of the allegations.
  • Your defence/counter claim against the aggrieved party (if any)
  • Whether you want to go to court or find an alternative resolution such an out of court settlement.

Before you respond, there are a few important things you need to consider.
You need to understand the nature of the claims against you and the potential liability and exposure to your business so you can make a business decision on how to proceed with the case.

Legal fees can rise quickly, so if the claim is only for a modest amount or there is a non-monetary way to settle the issue, that may be a better business option for your company.

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