Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Companies: When Is a Business Liable?

Updated on November 25, 2019
Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Companies When Is a Business Liable copy

You’re a health inspector who intends to conduct an unannounced inspection at a fast-food restaurant. Despite the surprise, the manager is gracious and shows you around. After you check the dining area, he takes you to the kitchen area. 

In the kitchen, two young employees are goofing around and knocking things over. The manager tells them to stop. 

After they calm down, you proceed to walk through the area. Before long, you find yourself on the ground.

Your head is aching, and your clothes are wet. You’re sitting in a pool of water. The teenage employees knocked over a bucket of water as they were horsing around. 

Your elbow feels numb, and you can barely move your arm. The manager apologizes profusely. 

Even though the manager didn’t intend for the accident to happen, the health inspector can petition the courts for compensation. Managers must clean up pools of water and liquids to avoid slips and falls.

And, they must display a warning sign that alerts patrons of puddles or wet floors. Failure to secure a safe atmosphere could expose businesses to a personal injury claim. This article will show you the ins and outs of lawsuits against companies. Let’s explore. 

Duty of Care

In legal terms, a business must foster a reasonable set of safety procedures that will secure a safe atmosphere, otherwise called Duty of Care. This doesn’t mean that companies are fully liable whenever a customer sustains an injury. Rather, the business must take reasonable steps, such as:

  • Placing rugs near entryways to prevent water accumulation on the floors
  • Warning customers of a wet floor or puddle
  • Conducting regular checks of the premises to find defects or hazards that could cause injury

With that, the standards depend on the nature of the business. And, the laws vary by state in terms of safety standards. 

Regardless, a customer can bring forth a business lawsuit if the company was negligent in some fashion.

  • Example: An employee saw a puddle and meant to clean it up later. However, an elderly customer slipped and broke her pelvis. It doesn’t matter if the employee meant to clean it up; the company is still liable. 

In this case, the failure to clean it up the mess in time amounts to negligence. When it comes to personal injury cases, absent-mindedness and ignorance aren’t excuses under the law. Therefore, managers must ensure strict safety protocols to avoid underlying hazards that could cause injury.

From the viewpoint of injured customers, they must prove that the injury in question stemmed directly from a company’s Breach of Care. And, the customer must show damages in the form of medical bills or time off from work.

A customer cannot win a lawsuit if he or she tripped over their feet. If a customer can trace the fall to an indentation in the floor, however, then there is a chance of winning the case. 

With that, there are times when plaintiffs share the blame in an accident, otherwise known as comparative negligence. It’s a form of tort law that allows insurance companies to divide the blame among all parties involved. As a result, a plaintiff could get reduced compensation if he or she shares a portion of the blame.

Plaintiffs who win cases will more than likely get compensation from the company’s insurance provider. However, insurance adjusters often minimize the amount owed.

As a result, many plaintiffs fail to get the just compensation they deserve. That’s why plaintiffs need an experienced attorney who will fight insurance giants to get the maximum amount owed. If you need an attorney, contact The Khalidi Law Firm to assess your options.

Product Negligence

A customer doesn’t need to be on company grounds to commence business lawsuits. Defective products that cause physical harm gives consumers the right to sue for damages. 

  • Example: A malfunctioning gun that causes injury gives a gun owner the right to sue the gun manufacturer. 

Product liability lawsuits must connect the defective merchandise to personal injury and pain and suffering. The plaintiff must show that the company breached its duty to care for the public when manufacturing the product. 

However, there is no federal law when it comes to product liability cases. Rather, the states issue the appropriate product laws. Overall, the following parties can be liable in a product liability lawsuit:

  • Manufacturer
  • Wholesaler
  • Installers

From a plaintiff’s perspective, he or she must show that the product was defective before purchasing it. And, the product must be inherently dangerous. Also, a plaintiff must prove that the defective product caused the injury.

You can also bolster your case if you can show a breach of warranty. A warranty will guarantee that the product is safe and in working condition. With a warranty in place, a product that’s defective and causes injury gives the plaintiffs a strong case. 

Employee Rights

Employees also have the same rights as consumers when it comes to personal injury claims. An injured employee can file for workers’ compensation in most states.

If you’re injured, go to the hospital and collect any medical documents. Then, file an accident report within the company immediately.

In most cases, you have a very limited window to file the report. Read over the report to ensure that it’s accurate.

If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. Talk to any witnesses so they can support your case.

Employers must have workers’ compensation insurance in most cases. When it comes to workers’ comp cases, the business doesn’t have to be negligent. An employee can still win a worker’s comp case, even if he or she was the at-fault party. 

With that, an employee can lose a workers’ comp case for the following reasons:

  • If they use drugs or alcohol
  • If they engage in any horseplay or unruly behavior
  • If they engage in altercations that caused the injury

Contact an attorney if you’re unsure about your workers’ comp case. You’ll need a personal injury attorney that will fight insurance companies to maximize worker comp payouts. 

Lawsuits Against Companies: Do I Stand a Chance of Winning my Case?

Only an attorney can assess whether you can win your case. However, an attorney can increase your chances of winning exponentially. Rely on the expertise of a seasoned attorney who can clearly articulate your case to the courts or insurance companies.

Lawsuits against companies can be in the form of slip-and-fall cases, product liability, or workers’ comp claims.

Interested in reading more? Read more on our blog to learn about the state of the healthcare industry.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.