Liability for the negligence of others: a new standard?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employers often ask: “Will I be liable if one of my independent contractors injures someone?” The short answer is, “It depends.” A recent case from the North Carolina Court of Appeals adds new considerations to the long answer.

First, the basics

Employers have relatively high potential liability for the acts of their employees, particularly negligent conduct. Employers may be liable when the employee’s conduct (1) has been expressly authorized, (2) is subsequently ratified by the employer or (3) is committed within the scope of the employment and in furtherance of the employer’s business.

Generally, a person or organization employing an independent contractor isn’t liable for the contractor’s negligence unless the employer seeks to control how the contractor performs its work. Limiting liability is one of the most compelling reasons for some organizations to use truly independent contractors instead of employees to perfo...(register to read more)

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