Premise Liability Basics for Tarot Professionals

Bitstrips - Premise Liability

You’re probably thinking that this whole premise liability thing is not a big deal. If you’ve bought business insurance that covers premise liability claims, then you may be right. However, the typical startup professional tarot reader these days isn’t operating out of his or her own storefront (and if you are, then my post is not likely to pertain to you because you’ve already got insurance to handle this). You’re probably reading out of your home, meeting clients at a local shop or café, or meeting clients at their homes. And you’re going at it without insurance coverage because you’re a maverick. Eeps. What could possibly go wrong?

I say any time you’re doing business, you better get insurance to cover every aspect of your business operations. But if nothing I say is going to convince you to pay out for insurance coverage, then read on and at least half-cover your butt.

Inviting Clients to Your Home for Readings

When you invite a client to your home for a paid tarot reading, that client is a business invitee and by law in most U.S. jurisdictions, you owe a very high duty of care to that client. The classic hypothetical is a faulty stair on a staircase or a loose floorboard that you let the client walk on. It’s not enough for you to simply warn the client about the faulty stair or floorboard and then hope the client will be careful. You owe a duty to that client to fix the issue. If there are hanging plants from your ceiling and one of those plants falls on your client’s head, then you may find yourself in a legally dicey game of “who’s to blame.”

Win or lose such a case, the sheer cost of having to play the blame game in the first place should be enough to get you to pay attention right now. Or what if there’s an electrical cord or cable wire running across a room and your client somehow manages to trip over it? You thought it was fine because it ran under a rug and what idiot can possibly trip over a cord or cable running under a rug but your client just manages to be that idiot. And now that idiot has broken her leg and expects you to pay for it. What do you do? What if you’ve got clutter everywhere and your client trips and falls over a stack of books in the middle of the hallway and got badly injured and for whatever reason, now wants to sue? What if your kid spills a drink on the kitchen floor, ignores it, runs off, the spouse sees it but decides to “clean it up later” and before “later” comes, your client walks into the kitchen and slips? The client then dislocates her hip from the slip and fall, doesn’t have health insurance, and now is asking you to pay for the medical bills.

Not likely to happen so why worry? Is that what you’re going to tell yourself?

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