Employer Liability for Employee's Acts

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When Is an Employer Liable for Acts of an Employee?

If an employee acts in a negligent manner and causes an injury to another person, the company may be liable for any expenses incurred by that person as a result of the injury. Whether the employer is liable for an employee's act depends upon what capacity the employee was acting in.

If an employee was working within the scope of his employment when he caused an injury to another person, it is most likely the employer will be held liable for the cost of that injury. In other words, if an employee is doing something that is one of his job duties, and an injury occurs because of it, the employer is held liable.

However, if the employee acted out of his own personal volition and either purposefully or recklessly caused the injury, it would not be the company who is liable for the act. Examples would include acts by an employee outside the work environment, or malicious acts by an employee within the work environment (such as one employee punching another).

Can an Employer Be Liable for an Employee's Acts Just Because They Hired the Employee?

Even if an employee commits an act not within the scope of employment that ends up hurting another individual, an employer can still be held liable if it was obvious the employee was reasonably capable of committing this act. In other words, the employer can be held liable for any acts the employee committed that were reasonably predictable. One example of this is if an employer hired an employee without doing a background check, which would have revealed that employee had a criminal record that involved armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

If the employee is a delivery person and ends up shooting and robbing one of the customers, and it was obvious from the circumstances of his previously committed crimes that he would be likely to do it again, the employer may be held liable for the costs of treatment for any injuries sustained by the victim as a result of the act.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

You probably want to contact a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and let you know if you may be entitled to compensation by the employee or employer for costs of treatment for the injuries you sustained.

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Last Modified: 01-16-2014 03:01 PM PST

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