Employers owe a duty of care to their employees and contractors, including providing a safe workplace and necessary safety equipment. They may be held liable if an employee is injured due to negligence or intentional actions. Employers with independent contractors are treated differently under the law than employers with employees. For this reason, it’s crucial to have an experienced law attorney by your side who can help you evaluate your claim.
You may be entitled to damages in a personal injury case depends on whether the person owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused an injury. The three possible manners in which you can establish liability are negligence, intentional or reckless conduct, or strict liability. Knowing when each applies is essential in your claim. Let’s explore what else you need to know:
1. Employers breaching a duty of care
An employer or another party in control of a property may be negligent in not taking certain precautions to ensure the safety of people on the property. The party may owe a duty of care to their employees, customers, or visitors. It may violate this obligation if it refuses to follow adequate safety precautions or notify about known hazards.
For example, if an employer knows asbestos exists in the building and fails to remove or provide respirators. In such a case, employees may hire a mesothelioma lawyer and file a claim against the employer.
2. Intentional or reckless conduct
Intentional or reckless conduct may also be considered a form of negligence. Suppose an employer or person in control of the property intentionally causes harm. In that case, they may be liable for injuries and damages. For example, suppose an employer punches you on company time and causes injury. In that case, they may be responsible for damages resulting from their intentional conduct. Besides damages for personal injury, you may also be entitled to damages for your medical costs and time is taken off work.
3. Strict liability
In strict liability cases, an employer may be liable for injuries and damages even if they haven’t breached a duty of care. Strict liability cases do not require a claim of negligence and may apply to the following:
- Accidents caused by defective vehicles or equipment, such as an employer who fails to maintain the vehicles used for company purposes properly.
- Accidents occur by animals, like when an employer allows a dog to run uncontrolled in the workplace and an employee gets wounded.
- Accidents involving hazardous waste sites, such as if an employer fails to clean up a toxic spill and employees working nearby are exposed to toxins.
- Accidents involving toxic materials, such as a chemical plant that releases poisonous gas into the air, and employees from other nearby businesses are exposed.
Injuries to employees are all too common in the workplace. Employers should provide a safe place to work and the required safety equipment. They should hire workers with the necessary training and experience and take the necessary precautions to protect employees from hazards in the work environment.
4. Employers and independent contractors
Employers owe a different duty of care to employees than independent contractors. For example, if the contractor is supposed to inspect and maintain safety equipment on a construction site, it would be different than an employer providing safety equipment. If an independent contractor is injured, they can sue the employer for failing to provide a safe workplace and not the manufacturer of defective equipment. In addition, if an employer is found to be negligent, it may also have implications for your claim against the manufacturer or other party involved.
5. Employers and business invitees
Employers owe a duty of care to business invitees. Suppose an employer fails to keep their premises in good repairs, such as having holes in the floor or not maintaining safe stairwells. In that case, they may be liable for injuries to business invitees. Business invitees are people who come onto the premises without actual or implied authority. This group includes customers, patients of a hospital, and patrons of your office building. However, it doesn’t typically have delivery people and postal workers, who aren’t considered business invitees.
6. Employers and trespassers
Employers owe a duty of care to trespassers less than they do to business invitees. For example, suppose an employer knows their property is unsafe for trespassers but doesn’t warn them or have barriers to prevent trespassing. In that case, they may be liable if someone gets injured. In addition, if an employer knows that there’s a hazard on the property and doesn’t take precautions to prevent it, they may be liable to trespassers. Also, some states impose strict liability on employers for injuries to trespassers.
7. Employers and licensees
Employers owe a duty of care to employees, customers, patients, patrons, or invitees who have been given actual or implied authority from the employer to enter the property. That may include a doctor giving you medical treatment, a customer buying something from the retailer, or an employee doing their job at your office. Employers who fail to remove known hazards could be liable for injuries. When an employer knows someone has been given authority to be on their property and fails to warn them about hazards, they could be liable for injuries.
Injuries and damages due to the negligence of a third party may entitle you to pursue legal action. If you or a loved one suffered from an injury that wasn’t your fault, contact an attorney for a review. Also, they can discuss the different types of liability and your rights, like the ability to collect damages.