Personal injury cases seem to be the most talked-about type of legal action that people have questions about. This is fair because personal injury cases happen to be one of the most common cases out there. In fact, there are over 2 million claims per year, so it is useful to know more about this. One question that comes up often is figuring out who is responsible for these incidents. The fact of the matter is that many people can be involved and are responsible, so here is a list of parties that can be held liable.
1. Property Owners
Owners or proprietors of personal dwellings and establishments owe a duty of care to the visitors or occupants of their property. As such, these owners are responsible for any injury that occurs on their premises that could have otherwise been avoided with the proper duty of care, which is to say that if they maintained these buildings well. Stepping on an exposed nail would be grounds for liability if the owner was aware and made no effort to fix it. In contrast, someone engaged in willful dangerous activity on the property may not be entitled to compensation given that they knew they would get hurt.
Among the top causes of personal injury is a motor vehicle accident. Getting hurt in an accident can range anywhere from a light scratch on your car to serious injuries like broken bones or lacerations, all the way to death. When getting into their vehicles and driving on public roads, motorists are responsible for their own safety and the safety of those around them. By receiving a license and driving you, submit to the laws of driving a motor vehicle and preventing harm, which is why you can be held responsible for acts like reckless or distracted driving.
Providing a safe workspace is a primary duty of care for employers. In any place of business or work, there are endless opportunities for injury. Heavy lifting, slips, and falls, improper safety procedures, lack of first aid, etc. contribute to an unsafe working environment. If the employer does not provide these standards, they are liable. Employers are very much the target of disgruntled employees who have received personal injuries at work because there is an expectation of a safe place to conduct business that has to be met.
4. Safety Representatives
Following along with the employer as a liable party, workplaces must have a safety representative if there is credible reason to assume that injury can occur on the premises. Safety representatives who fail to teach safe work habits, techniques, or instruction become liable because they put their fellow employees in harm’s way but not giving them the tools to prevent accidents and injury. Duties that must be adhered to, like posting of safety instructions for fires or first aid kit use, can be ignored, which puts other people in danger and make them liable for the risks that happen.
5. Product Manufacturers
Sometimes, even if an employer or safety representative does their best job to teach safe work habits and provide a clean and risk-free area, the danger could already be present unbeknownst to them. These dangers begin when product manufacturers ship and sell faulty products and equipment that can break and harm the user. Drills with improper bit holders, saws that have easily breakable guards, toys that can cause electric shocks from faulty batteries, and many more problems are commonplace and put liability in the hands of many people before an individual even gets their hand on it. It even goes as far as the designers of said products.
6. Medical Professionals and Practitioners
Medical malpractice is an all too common cause of personal injury. Incorrect diagnoses or a poor job treating a wound or repairing pre-existing physical damage can cause even more symptoms or injuries. Malpractice from professionals like doctors and physicians down to nurses and other medical workers can result in serious, long-lasting problems for a patient that could have been avoided with a better duty of care. Duty of care is one of the single most important tenets of the medical industry so liability falls on them for not providing it, assuming the patient was acting in accordance with the advice and not further endangering themselves or exacerbating their condition.
Personal injury can occur anywhere and at any time, so it is good to know how you and others around you can be held responsible. This list covers some of the most common parties which are considered within the scope of liability for these incidents.
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