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Are Companies Liable for Injuries Their Employees Cause?

 Posted on June 20, 2024 in Workers' Compensation

Peoria, IL workplace injury lawyerLiability means legal responsibility. If a party is liable for damages, it means that the party is legally responsible for paying for the damages that were caused. If you want to be compensated for a personal injury, hire an Illinois personal injury attorney to bring a claim against whichever party is liable.

It is important to know that the party who is liable is not always the party that caused the injury. If you are injured in a collision caused by a drunk teenage driver, for example, the parents might be liable for the injury even though it was caused by their child. Similarly, a company might be liable for an injury caused by its employee. This is called vicarious liability.

What Is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability means that someone is legally responsible for an injury even though someone else caused it. It is based on a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for “let the master answer.” 

For there to be a vicarious liability, therefore, the party that caused the injury must have a relationship with the party that is liable for the injury. That relationship must be of a “master/servant” nature. The party that is liable is the “master” of the party who caused the injury by having some degree of control over his or her actions. Parents, for example, are the “masters” of their children in this context, just as a company is the “master” of its employees.

When Is a Company Liable for an Injury Caused By an Employee?

A company is not always liable for the actions of its employees. For the company to be liable for an injury caused by an employee, Illinois law says the employee must have caused the injury in the course of his or her employment. This phrasing is vague, but Illinois courts understand it to mean that the following must be true:

  • The employee was performing a task he or she was hired to perform.

  • The employee was acting in a manner authorized by the employer.

  • The employee caused the injury while on the clock and while in a place authorized by the employer.

For example, if you are involved in a collision caused by an employee, the company may be liable if the employee:

  • Was delivering or picking up an item for the company

  • Was authorized to drive the car on that road to perform the task

  • Was driving during work hours

Contact a Peoria, IL Vicarious Liability Attorney

If you were injured by an employee, the employer may be vicariously liable. If so, it would be a fool’s errand to try to claim compensation from the employee. The best way to know who is liable for a workplace accident is to hire a Springfield, IL vicarious liability attorney. Personal injury clients like to work with Kanoski Bresney because we are highly experienced and we know how to prove vicarious liability. Our attorneys are ready to fight for you aggressively and get you the highest compensation possible. Call 888-826-8682 to get started today.

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