Will Keeping Company Records Help if I Have to Make a Claim?
Keeping records for everything in business is the smartest way to protect yourself. It can be daunting in an organizational sense, but it is worth the time to come up with a verifiable method that keeps organized records up to date. These records should include information on every single transaction between your company and a customer. It should include financial records showing exactly how much money passed through your business every single day. Keeping copies of records combined with comprehensive incident reports is important for future claims.
There are often situations in which a business owner might find themselves filling out an incident report for a complaint by an employee or customer. Getting as much information as soon as possible is the right way to handle your business. Let's look at some examples of this and how best to handle each one. By the end you should have a good idea on what you need to do, how to get it done, and the outcome you should expect from all this hard work.
For every unusual situation you have at your company there should be an incident report filed. It costs very little to get all the pertinent information from all parties involved as soon as it happens. For instance, if an employee is in an automobile accident in a company vehicle you must have a protocol in place that involves gathering information as soon as possible. Your business insurance company might not be able to respond as quickly as you would like and thus the responsibility for getting information falls on you. You should immediately interview the employee(s) involved. Get an overload of information if you can. There could be details they mention that they later forget that will help you in the event you need to file a claim, or they file a claim against you.
It is important to bear in mind that your insurance company is a partner in your liability. This does not mean that you are no longer responsible for doing your part in liability situations. After all, your insurance company might pay the claim but you might pay larger premiums as a result. In order to keep your premiums low, you have to take control of these situations.
Keeping information organized so you can access it when necessary is important for the health of your business and is vital to handling future claims. A customer claiming you were negligent and thus caused them damages could come back from several years in some situations. If you have the appropriate records to fight such a claim you are more likely to be successful. Even if your business is relatively small right now, don't count on being able to remember all the conversations between you and any client. You need to take notes of all conversations and make sure everything that the customer agrees to is in writing.
In most situations in life well-meaning people involved in a business transaction have no desire to sue each other. The client wants the job done as promised and the company wants to be compensated. If there is a problem, giving the company a chance to fix it is the best first step. Any company worth its salt knows that satisfied customers are the key to success. Unfortunately, there are customers that try to get a little something for nothing or change their mind mid project but don't want to pay. Keeping company records will help if you have to file a claim right away or down the road.
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