Last year, private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, a 5.7% decrease from the year before. This might be largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As more people are going back to work, safety in the workplace is once again a concern. Although some injuries are covered with workers’ compensation insurance, workplace negligence is not covered.
In the case of workplace negligence, your employer is liable for the damages. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Workplace Negligence?
Workplace negligence, or negligence in employment, refers to when an employer is held responsible for the actions of an employee that causes injury to other people.
This often happens when an employer acts negligently by allowing an employee to perform a certain task or work under a certain position.
Employers found liable for negligence can face various legal consequences. One of those is being held financially responsible for the injured party’s losses. If there is widespread negligence, a court might require a company to revise handbooks and policies.
Workplace negligence relates to similar principles of negligent entrustment which involves personal injury, negligence, and tort laws. The laws govern injuries that result from an employer placing a dangerous item or instrument in the care of an employee.
To win a case like this, a lawyer will have to show that the employer should not have entrusted the employee with the property. An attorney could also prove that the employer should not have granted that employee access to the property.
Common Examples of Employer Negligence
Understanding some of the common instances for when employer negligence takes place can help you know if it applies to your case. Negligence in the workplace can lead to injury, theft, property damage, and even death.
The most common examples include:
Lack of Security
An employer has a responsibility to keep customers, employees, vendors, contractors, and suppliers safe. This applies to both physically safety and securing their personal information.
For example, if an employer conducts credit and criminal background checks on employees, they must destroy the paperwork when it is no longer needed. An employer also has to take steps to ensure that information doesn’t go public.
A business that stores customer social security numbers or credit cards has to keep that information safe from hackers as well.
To keep customers and employees safe while on-site, businesses must have fire extinguishers, emergency exit signs, and adequate lighting in parking lots.
Negligent Hiring Process
Businesses have to check prospective hires before making them part of the team. If an employee who is not properly checked harms others, the business can be held liable for its actions.
A basic employee background check and even a criminal background check are common for employers for this reason. Negligent hiring might also occur when an employer hires an individual who lacks:
An employer must properly train or direct their employees regarding assigned job duties to prevent damages and injuries from occurring. The employer should also have policies and procedures in place to avoid damages.
An employer might also be held liable for negligent retention if they keep an employee when they should have been fired. Any employee that is or becomes unfit, whether physically or mentally, should not be allowed to continue working.
Premise or Product Liability
A company is responsible for injury if they don’t maintain stair hand railing, walking areas, storage area, electrical infrastructure, etc. A slip and fall case is the most common form of premise liability.
Product liability involves accusations that a business was negligent during the production, design, research, packaging, or advertising of a product.
Proving Negligence in Employment
Elements necessary to prove negligence in employment are similar to those for standard negligence cases. In the setting of a workplace, the elements required include the following:
- The employer owed the injured a duty of care
- Duty of care was breached by an employer
- The injury was calculable and actually occurred
- An employee’s breach caused the injury
There are some cases where the employee is held liable for the injuries sustained by a plaintiff. This occurs when the employee is the party who is owed the duty of care.
An employer and an employee might be held liable together. In a personal injury case, this will depend on the rules of the jurisdiction.
What Is Duty of Care?
The employer’s duty of care is a legal requirement that states they must take all possible steps to ensure that employees have a healthy and safe work environment. The environment needs to be safe for customers as well.
Along with abiding by health and safety codes, an employer must provide adequate training to keep employees safe from harassment, discrimination, and bullying.
An employer that is aware of harassment in the workplace but does nothing about it might be held vicariously liable for employee actions. An employer is also responsible for providing adequate supervision over employees.
Negligent cases occur when an employer knows that their actions or failure to act results in third-party or employee injuries.
Should You Hire a Workplace Negligence Lawyer?
Because a court case like this is handled outside of the state-specific workers’ compensation claims process, it is beneficial to hire a lawyer. The claimant will have a hard time proving that the other party is liable without an attorney.
Filing a workplace negligence claim often requires heavy legal processing and research. The claimant might also be required to file a claim with a government agency before they can file a lawsuit.
To have someone represent you during your court case and any time you attend a court proceeding, contact us today to get started.