Establishing Liability in a Personal Injury Case: Business vs. Employee Liability

No one wants to sustain an injury. Not only do you have the physical and mental tolls of the wound, but you may find yourself involved in aggressive litigation over your just compensation. Before moving forward with any legal decision, it is critical to determine who holds liability: you or the business you work for or patronize.  

Finding out who is liable for an accident can bring claimants closer to recovering compensation, whether for medical bills, property damage, or lost wages.

When is an employer liable for employee accidents?

In the event of a workplace accident, three main factors determine employer liability:

  • Whether the worker was acting within the scope of employment at the time of injury
  • Whether that action placed the worker in a position of risk
  • Whether the risk was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of their job

If you can check the boxes on all three factors, your employer likely holds liability, and you should seek out a personal injury attorney like this one

An attorney can help you understand applicable laws and how to move forward. For example, workers’ compensation laws protect employees from paying for any medical treatment or lost wages if the injury occurred while acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident. 

The employer can still be liable even if the worker was doing something outside their normal work activities. For example, an employer that asks a worker to pick up trash while on a break may be held liable if the employee slipped and fell during that extra task. 

When is an employee liable for accidents during work hours?

Employees can be held liable for injuries caused by on-the-job negligence, intentional misconduct, or reckless behavior.

When an employee is not acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, they may be considered negligent and held liable for any resulting injuries. 

Likewise, workers can be held liable if they were injured while performing their typical job duties, such as carrying boxes or working with machinery.

Common reasons to file a personal injury claim

The specific circumstances surrounding the accident affect employer liability. The most common reasons for a personal injury claim against a business owner include negligent maintenance of the property or intentional harm of another person on the property.

When an employer fails to correct or warn about dangerous conditions or violates building codes, the employee has a case for a personal injury claim.

Typical workplace accidents involved in liability claims

According to the U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common work accidents include slips, trips, and falls. Car accidents that involve workers, contact with objects or equipment, exposure to harmful substances, and violence are also common. 

When your employer is liable for such accidents, seek immediate medical attention and ensure that your injuries and treatment receive thorough documentation.

Is my employer liable if another employee hurts me?

If another worker injures you, you may file a claim against your employer for lost wages and medical fees. You should cease working immediately to limit further injury and contact the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has a worker safety hotline that you can call anonymously to report unsafe working conditions.

Become knowledgeable about liability

Determining liability can be a complex process. The best thing is to consult a lawyer to fully understand which factors can lead to liability before moving forward with a legal claim.

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