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May 22, 2020

Can Your Employees Get You Sued?

general liability insuranceWhen you own a business, you don’t just need general liability insurance for your own actions. It also protects you from what your employees do. Here’s how. 

Can You Get Sued For What Your Employees Do? 

When you own a business, anything your employees do while working is something that you did, as far as liability is concerned. If an employee leaves a hose lying across a busy sidewalk and someone trips and gets hurt, you can both be sued and found liable. This theory applies in any type of business — from a chef sending out food while it’s still too hot to an auto mechanic who doesn’t properly reinstall a car’s brakes. Even if the lawsuit is a direct result of a specific individual’s actions, the action was still done as part of the business. So, it’s the business getting sued and the business owner who will ultimately have to pay. 

Are There Exceptions? 

There are very few exceptions to when you can get sued for your employees’ actions. For example, if your delivery driver was speeding — in violation of your clear policy to drive the speed limit — you can still get sued. This is the case simply because they were working for you at the time of the accident. On the other hand, if an employee was merely driving home in uniform while off the clock and not performing any work tasks, you generally wouldn’t have any liability. 

In certain skilled professions, you may be able to require your employees to carry their own professional liability insurance. However, you’d still be liable to the general public and would then settle with that insurance company to cover any of your losses. 

Can You Sue Your Employee For Getting You Sued? 

As a general rule, it’s a violation of labor laws to sue your employees for injuries they caused while working for you, even if they were negligent or violated a policy. The laws are written to keep the risk on employers in all but the most extreme situations. The idea is that you can provide proper training and supervision to reduce your risks. However, since you can never guarantee that an employee can’t accidentally get you sued, you should maintain general liability insurance to protect your business. 


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