As the owner of a business, you have certain fiduciary responsibilities to your business, including the duty of loyalty, the duty of obedience, and the duty of care. These duties are designed to make sure business owners put the best interests of the business first and work together to make it a success.
The duty of care is one of the responsibilities an owner or manager of a business has to use reasonable care in dealing with other people. This duty is also found in tort law where someone who acts in a reckless fashion can be held liable for the damage their actions cause. In other words, you’re expected to be reasonably careful.
For a business, this means to have a duty to be careful when dealing with other businesses, customers, or your employees. One great example is found with businesses that manufacture products. These companies have a duty to their customers to do their best to make a product safe (no exploding phones) and provide warnings about any dangers the product has. This is why you see product recalls when an issue appears and safety and warning tags all over products (especially products targeted at kids). Consumer products have safety regulations that need to be followed, so make sure you’re fully aware of those rules when you start designing and manufacturing your product.
For owners of service businesses with a physical facility their customers come to, this same duty applies. This means, as an example, that property owners are responsible for protecting customers from slip and fall hazards by putting out wet floor signs and making sure the shelves don’t tip over on them.
Even if you run a business that doesn’t have anything physical, as an owner or manger, you have a duty to act with care towards the business itself and make business decisions using your best business judgement. Failure to meet your duty of care, in the worst case, can result in an expensive tort lawsuit, especially if your negligence causes injury to a child.
One valuable function a good business attorney can help perform is to review your business, property, and products and help you assess risk. Lawyers are always thinking about the worst possible thing that could happen and this cynical attitude can be used to help you keep these problems at bay. Once you have a good idea where the risks are in your business, you can provide the proper warnings or take steps to mitigate the risks to your customers. When you’re facing a difficult business decision, your attorney can help you think through how to make the decision in the best possible way or handle the issues in a way that honors your duty of care.
The team at Virtus Law Firm are experienced business attorneys who have helped many different types of businesses handle and mitigate risks. Reach out today by calling at 612.888.1000 or contact us by email at email@example.com to set up a consultation.