TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari that would require employers and multiple dwelling unit owners to maintain liability insurance policies of no less than $500,000 was approved today by the Senate Commerce Committee.
The bill, S-822, would require employers and property owners to purchase liability insurance policies to cover certain third-party lawsuits for negligent acts such as property damage, bodily injury or death of one or more persons in any one accident or occurrence.
“The bill will not only protect New Jersey citizens who find themselves injured or harmed on a business’ property but will also protect our small business owners who could be financially ruined by expensive lawsuits after accidents,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “No one wants or expects accidents to happen, but they do, and we need to be sure employers and property owners have adequate insurance. I hope that the bill will provide relief for non-employees and their families in the event of unexpected and unfortunate circumstances on a business’ property.”
A 2005 study conducted by the Small Business Administration found that lawsuits cost small business between $3,000 and $150,000. Slip-and-fall accidents typically cost small businesses about $20,000. Commercial general liability policies cost small businesses, on average, $741 per year for a policy with a $1 million limit. However, eighty percent of small businesses pay less than $50 per month for general liability insurance.
General liability insurance can cover non-employee related injuries that happen on the business’ property, damage a business owner or employee causes to someone’s property, product liability, and advertising errors. The insurance policy also covers legal expenses including attorney fees and settlements.
The bill was released from committee today by a 5-0 vote and advances to the full Senate for further consideration.