Friday, May 6, 2011
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE? Who can I sue? Can I sue a business if their employee injures me?
If an employee of a business commits an act of negligence that injures another, while conducting the business of that employer, an injury victim may seek to recover damages from the employee that hurt them, or, from the business itself. Many Baltimore personal injurylawsuits are built on this principle, called respondeat superior. What if the negligent individual is not an employee of business, but rather an independent contractor- doing work for the business, but not actually employed by the business? As a general rule, the business that uses an independent contract to perform work is not liable for the negligence of that contractor, or the negligence of the employees of that contractor. In Appiah v. Hall, the Maryland. Court of Appeals discussed two exceptions to the general rule. One, where the business using the services of a contractor is a possessor of land and allows an unsafe condition to exists on land owned by the business, the business may be liable for personal injury caused by the unsafe condition. Secondly, if the business using the independent contractor retains control over the details and methods of the work, the contractor performs that work negligently, and the very aspect of the work over which control is retained causes a personal injury, that business may be held liable for the negligence of the contractor.
Maryland law also provides that an employer may not hire or retain anyone who poses an unreasonable risk of harm to others who could forseeably have contact with that person because of the employment. In order to prevail, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer must show that the person causing the harm was actually an employee of the defendant employer; that the person causing the harm was not competent to perform the tasks of the employment; the defendant employee knew the employee was incompetent; that there was an act that caused harm, and that the defendant employer's negligence in hiring or retaining the employee was the cause of the injury. Though difficult to prove, an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney can help you evaluate if you have such a claim.