Find the right lawyer now

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Laws

Find a Local Business Lawyer near You

What Is Commercial General Liability (CGL)?

Commercial General Liability, or “CGL”, refers to a type of commercial insurance policy that most businesses will carry.  CGL covers basic bodily, physical injuries to visitors of the business premises, as well as various property damage claims.

CGL, or “General Liability Insurance”, is typically purchased by the business entity along with property insurance.  Such packages help protect the business against common incidents and injuries that can occur on the business property or at other locations owned by the company. 

What Does Commercial General Liability Cover?

Commercial liability insurance mainly covers incidents related to premises liability claims.  It may also cover various other subjects, such as:

  • Bodily injury to visitors- this may include slip and fall claims, or injuries caused by a dangerous structure
  • Property damage- this may cover damage to the visitor’s property while on the premises
  • Personal injury- in addition to slip and fall claims, the insurance may cover other injuries such as toxic exposure
  • Advertising injuries- the insurance may cover for offenses committed by some employees, such as libel, slander, or copyright infringement

Thus, CGL may cover a wide range of incidents, which thus allows the business to maintain normal operations even though a potentially threatening claim has arisen.

What Is Not Covered by CGL?

While commercial general liability packages usually cover most basic claims, there are certain subjects that aren’t covered by CGL.  For example, if your company makes specific, professional recommendations or judgments as a normal course of business, your CGL may not cover any losses associated with such expert judgments.  This is because CGL covers only “general” business matters, and not highly specific issues that are subject to independent, professional judgment.

Such matters are likely to be covered in a separate package called “Professional Liability” insurance, or “Errors and Omissions” coverage.  These cover losses associated with errors, omissions, or negligent acts related to professional advice.  You may wish to inquire with a lawyer to see which type of coverage your business needs.

What If I Have a Dispute Regarding CGL?

Commercial general liability laws are typically very straightforward, since there will usually be a written contract between the insured and the insurer.  However, it is common for disputes to arise over commercial general liability matters.  These can happen if:

  • The dispute is between the insured and the insurer (for example, disputes regarding premium rates or policy coverage)
  • The dispute lies outside the scope of the CGL coverage
  • The dispute involves amounts that exceed the policy coverage

In such instances, the dispute is likely going to be resolved through a private lawsuit in a civil court of law.  This may require the presentation of various forms of evidence, such as copies of the commercial liability insurance contract, witness testimonies, and various business documents.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Commercial General Liability (CGL) Laws?

Commercial general liability laws can often be very complex, and may vary from state to state.  If your business entity needs legal assistance with such matters, it’s important that you contact a qualified lawyer immediately.  Your attorney can help review the documents and laws that may affect your business. Also, your attorney can represent you in court during lawsuit, to make sure that your interests and assets are protected.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 06-09-2014 11:54 AM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.