Is More Than One Business or Company Liable for Your Injuries?
If you have ever dealt with young children, you will often find that when they do something wrong, the first thing they do is point the finger, and try to blame someone else for what they did wrong. Well, businesses operate the same way.
Multiple Possible Defendants
The reality is, when we are injured on someone else’s property, it may not always be so clear who is liable, because in many cases, multiple parties, people, or companies, may have control over or responsibility for tasks and areas on the premises.
A common example is cleaning or security—the property owner may contract out with private cleaning or security companies, so that when something goes wrong, injuring someone else ,there becomes a dispute over who is the liable party: the property owner, or the company that the property owner hired or used.
Why Blame Another Company?
Defendants who are being sued love pointing the finger at other companies, encouraging you to add them to your lawsuit. There are a few reasons for this:
1) The more companies that may be liable for your injuries, the less each of them, individually, has to pay to you
2) Blaming additional Defendants makes your case longer and more complex, thus (they hope) coercing you to settle your case quicker or earlier
3) Often, other companies who may be liable, may be smaller, with less (or no) insurance than the primary property owner has, again, discouraging you from moving forward with your lawsuit for fear that even if you win, you will never get the money that a court awarded to you.
Non Delegable Duties
While sometimes the “point the finger” defense is effective, necessitating that you add more Defendants to your lawsuit, there are some cases when a Defendant cannot, legally, blame another company.
A Defendant cannot just contract out the duty to keep people safe on its property. Courts will not allow a Defendant to just wash its hands of the responsibility to keep its property safe or free from crime.
A company can use third party companies if it likes—but ultimately, if something goes wrong, it is the property owner, not the third party company, that is liable for your injuries. That means that you can sue the primary business or property owner, for the entirety of your injuries, even if another company was used to perform a given task on the property.
Additionally, any type of activity that is inherently dangerous, also cannot be contracted out to other companies.
Anything construction related, handling of heavy machinery or toxic chemicals, handling electrical projects, or anything that creates a danger, cannot be just pawned off to a separate company—the original property owner remains liable for the errors of its hired contractors.
Call our Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 to see whether you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. We can help you determine who may or may not be liable for your injuries and accident.