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How To Sue a Company for Negligence: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated January 4, 2024
12 min read
How To Sue a Company for Negligence: A Comprehensive Guide

In light of evolving employee rights, addressing workplace negligence affecting working conditions and salaries is imperative. This article provides a broad guide on how to sue a company for negligence, focusing on employment-related matters, thanks to provisions by the International Convention on Economic and Socio-Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and International Labor Organization Conventions.

Understanding Negligence in Employment

Can I sue my employer for putting me in danger? This question is often pivotal when employees encounter hazardous working conditions. The standards for work conditions are usually defined by factors like employment contracts, labor laws, trade union agreements, or established industry practices. Each of these categories enforces specific prerequisites to prevent charges of negligence. If these stipulations are violated, jeopardizing an employee's safety, it may form the basis for a negligence lawsuit.

Insight

Employment negligence pertains to situations where a business is legally accountable for harm or damage caused to an employee owing to the company's actions or inactions. This aspect primarily hinges on the employer-employee relationship and breaches within the employment contract.

Mandatory safety measures can vary depending on the workplace environment and nature of work. Therefore, understanding how to sue a company for negligence can be complex, requiring a thorough knowledge of labor laws and strong advocacy.

Reasons for Suing a Company

There are numerous reasons why an individual can sue a company for negligence, including negligent hiring, retention, supervision, and provision. Each category has conditions and criteria that must be proven to succeed in court.

Negligent hiring

Negligent hiring occurs when an employer neglects to properly assess an individual's suitability during the hiring process. If the employer negligently hires someone unfit for the role, they can be held responsible for any harm caused by the employee. For example, if an employer hired an individual with a history of negligent behavior that results in injury to co-workers or others, the employer could be liable for negligently hiring the unfit individual.

Negligent retention

Negligent retention is a related concept. If an employer fails to take appropriate actions after becoming aware of an employee's incompetence or dangerous tendencies, they could face a negligent retention claim. For instance, if an employer ignores signs of an employee's unfitness and the employee harms a colleague or visitor, the employer could be held liable.

Negligent supervision

Negligent supervision is when damage is caused to an employee or other due to a lack of proper oversight. To win a negligence lawsuit, it needs to be shown that appropriate supervision was expected and that the employer either failed to provide it or did so ineffectively.

Negligent provision

Finally, negligent provision is when a company fails to provide adequate resources or equipment necessary for safety, causing harm. Think of a chemical company that neglects to offer its employees the required protective gear. If an employee experiences an injury, like chemical burns, it could be a clear case of negligent provision, suing a company for negligence.

In all these scenarios, the claimant must prove that the company owed them a duty of care, neglected or breached this duty and that this negligence led to harm or damage, potentially giving the claimant grounds to sue a business for negligence. Each type of negligence claim has complexities and nuances, emphasizing the need for expert legal guidance when contemplating such a lawsuit.

Types of Lawsuits Against a Company

Several kinds of lawsuits can be filed against a company, depending on the damage sustained and the penalties the plaintiff is pursuing. These may include discrimination or harassment lawsuits, product liability claims, professional malpractice suits, personal injury claims, or breach of contract cases, each with unique legal requirements and procedures.

Discrimination or harassment

When a person has suffered discrimination or harassment at the workplace based on color, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic protected by federal law, that person may have grounds to sue. Physical or sexual harassment or discrimination could take place either during the hiring process or during work. A victim might be required to file an administrative charge first, and after that, they can file a lawsuit if the outcome is unsatisfactory. The final result could be a change in company policy.

Product liability

In this case, a plaintiff would seek to hold a company liable for a defective or dysfunctional product. The plaintiff is typically a product recipient and aims to have the company recall and replace the product or pay damages for any expenses incurred or injuries from the faulty product.

Professional malpractice and negligence

A certain level of expertise is expected when entrusting services to a professional. Falling short of a reasonable level of expectation for knowledge, integrity, and diligence could make the organization or company vulnerable to being sued for professional malpractice or professional negligence. Professionals, including lawyers, doctors, and accountants, usually encounter this kind of lawsuit.

Personal injury

One of the most common types of lawsuits filed against companies is the personal injury lawsuit. When an employee or individual suffers an injury or an aggravation of an existing condition due to the negligent activities of a company, that person may have grounds to file a claim for damages.

Breach of contract

When a company goes against a condition or warranty in a contract of employment or a collective agreement with a trade union or other business contract, the company is considered in breach of contract. Depending on the magnitude of the breach, the other party could claim damages or repudiate the contract as a whole.

Building a Claim Against a Company

Filing a lawsuit against your employer might seem complex, but with sufficient cause, it can be achieved through the following steps:

  1. Collect information: Gather as much information as possible about the workplace conditions and any related incidents that have led to your injury.

  2. Legal action: Next, consult with a lawyer specializing in labor practices. They can guide you appropriately based on the evidence you provide.

  3. Serve notice: When filing a lawsuit against a company for negligence, you must serve the company notice of the intent to bring legal action against the business for the injury suffered due to the negligence or breach of acceptable workplace conditions. An experienced attorney can help adequately execute this step.

  4. Aim for settlement: Engage in conversation with the company for an out-of-court settlement. If this doesn't work out, a court trial follows, where your lawyer presents the evidence to convince the judge to spearhead the prosecution.

Lastly, remember that such legal proceedings can take time. Stay patient and persistent, as justice can sometimes be a slow process. With the proper legal representation and adequate evidence, success is within reach.

Can Every Company be Liable?

Yes, all businesses with legal recognition can be sued for negligence. This encompasses small and large corporations, non-profit organizations, and individual-owned businesses like sole proprietorships. 

  • Government agencies are also liable, as they must meet specific standards of care to protect their employees and the public.

  • Professional firms, including law, auditing, and consulting, can be held accountable for negligence causing financial or reputational damages. 

  • Given their responsibility for people’s safety and well-being, educational institutions and medical centers can also face negligence lawsuits. 

Despite variations in industry-specific laws and processes, all these entities must uphold specific duty of care standards and can be legally responsible if they fail.

Timeframe To File a Lawsuit Against a Company

The timeframe to file a negligence lawsuit is called the "statute of limitations," which varies significantly. This variability is due to the differing nature of lawsuits, legal specifics, and state laws. You may have a few years from the event or discovery of negligence for some incidents, while other circumstances might demand immediate action. 

It's also crucial to note the stipulation that after a specific timeframe, your right to sue could expire, rendering your lawsuit invalid. This caveat makes understanding the applicable timeframe integral to your case. 

Hence, it's highly recommended that you promptly consult with a business or labor lawyer, such as those at Lawrina, after the incident. They can accurately inform you regarding your deadline to file a lawsuit based on your specific circumstances and the laws within your jurisdiction. Their expertise can help ensure your rights are not inadvertently forfeited due to pointing beyond the legally stipulated timeframe.

Winning a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

In the context of "Can you sue a company for putting you in danger?" it's important to understand that successfully navigating a negligence lawsuit can be complex. The outcome hinges on various elements, such as the claim's specifics, the company's size and nature, and the strength of the evidence produced.

To secure a desirable outcome, plaintiffs must demonstrate a few key factors convincingly. Firstly, the company should have owed you a duty of care. Secondly, the company must have curtailed or infringed upon this duty. Lastly, you should have incurred damages or injuries due to this negligence. These points must be substantiated robustly and backed up with compelling evidence.

Given the multifaceted nature of such cases, the support of a skilled labor attorney can be a pivotal asset. These experts possess the knowledge and practical experience necessary to navigate the complex maze of litigation. They can advise on the intricacies of labor laws, guide case strategy, and enhance the presentation of your claim significantly, thereby improving the odds of securing a favorable judgment.

Conclusion

The legal system enables an individual to sue their employer for negligence and hold the company or its executives accountable for their actions, suing a company for negligence. With the proper guidance and due process, legitimate claims can result in compensation for financial loss, medical bills, or other damages, with no fear of retaliation.

Article by
Yevheniia Savchenko
Lawrina

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the product or UX content for Lawrina, feel free to contact Yevheniia directly at y.savchenko@lawrina.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.