For photographer's who operate out of a photography studio, it's important you know what to do in the unfortunate circumstance that a client is injured.
While some photographers are used to working on location or at venues, many operate a photography business out of a photography studio. Whether you operate a studio out of your home or out of a dedicated commercial space, your company faces a unique set of risks and should prepare for those risks accordingly. One of the biggest exposures is the risk of injury to a client while at the studio for a shoot.
Like any company operating out of a commercial location, there are a seemingly endless of potential scenarios where a customer can be hurt. For photographers, the threats range from the traditional “slip and fall” to one’s specific to photography like tripping on an extension chord or getting accidentally burned by camera lighting. In the unfortunate circumstance that a client is injured while at your studio for a session, there are several key things you’ll want to make sure you do to protect yourself and your business ensuring that your client is also properly cared for.
local_hospital Tend to the Injured Client First
Obviously, this goes without saying, but we have to include it anyway. Do not underestimate the severity of a potential injury to a client and don’t be afraid to call 911. From both a liability and human perspective, the safety and well-being of the injured client should always be a top priority. If you’re operating out of a studio then the lease you signed would have required you to have, at the very least, a general liability insurance policy in place. Most general liability policies provide a minimum of $10,000 in medical expense to pay for medical costs of anyone injured at the commercial location of the business. Further, this is a “no-fault” coverage and is provided in an attempt to prevent greater liability or lawsuits later on. If you have a general liability policy, insist that your client visit a doctor. If you don’t have it, stop reading this article right now and purchase photographer’s insurance immediately.
do_not_disturb You Don’t Need to Admit Fault in the Moment
Rarely are all the circumstances that lead to an accident known at the time the accident occurs. While it’s entirely possible that you and your company are responsible for an injury to a client at your photography studio, you are under no obligation to admit guilt in that moment. With the priority being to ensure the injured client is cared for, it’s best to avoid discussing who or what was responsible for the accident that resulted in an injury until the client is safe and you’ve all had time to completely process and evaluate the incident.
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call When to Notify Insurance
After the injured client has left, either on their own or via medical transport, now is the time to call your insurance broker or carrier to explain exactly what happened. When you make contact with your insurance carrier, they will assign a claims adjuster to your case and begin the process of performing an investigation into the accident and the circumstances that lead to the injury. The severity of the injury will determine how time-consuming and costly the investigation is. This is an example of why purchasing insurance from an experienced and reputable broker is so important. At Layr, we only place our customers’ coverage with A-rated insurance carriers and we’re by your side throughout the entire claims process.
photo_camera Document Everything
To ensure a smooth claims process, it’s extremely important to document everything related to the injury to your client. While the incident is fresh in your mind, document in writing exactly what happened, where it happened, when it happened, and who it happened to. Take photos of the scene where the accident occurred and of any objects that contributed to the injury. Memories can get fuzzy and when people try to recall the experience at a later date, details can become inaccurate. Proper documentation will become crucial if the claim drags on or turns into a lawsuit.
accessible Accidents Happen
No matter how safe you keep your photo studio, we all know that accidents happen. It’s impossible to prevent them 100% of the time and injuries are one of the primary reasons that liability insurance exists. Just like you would never risk driving around in a vehicle without insurance you shouldn’t risk conducting business without it either.