You rightfully expect your employer to take diligent measures to ensure your well-being while you aree on the clock. But here’s an eye-opener: when a fellow employee is injured at work due to the actions or inactions of another colleague, it’s not just the individual at fault who bears the responsibility. This concept is referred to as vicarious liability, and it holds substantial implications for personal injury claims. 

What is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability signifies that your employer can be held answerable for the actions of their workforce during work hours. Even if the harm results from a co-worker’s negligence or misconduct, your employer might find themselves liable for the resulting injuries. 

When Does Vicarious Liability Come into Play?

For vicarious liability to come into effect, the problematic behaviour or actions must occur within the realm of employment. This definition isn’t narrowly confined to regular job duties; it extends its reach. Take, for example, incidents unfolding at work-sponsored gatherings like office parties; they too can drag the employer into the realm of vicarious liability. 

Nonetheless, if an employee’s actions are deemed to constitute serious and wilful misconduct or fall outside the scope of their employment, the employer may not be held vicariously liable. In such scenarios, the negligent employee may face personal liability and separate legal repercussions. 

In Queensland, Australia, workers have the right to make a common law claim and seek damages from their employer if they believe their injury resulted from employer or co-worker negligence. To succeed in such a claim, you must prove that the employer breached its duty of care, resulting in your injury, pain, suffering, and loss of income. 

In cases involving vicarious liability, you need to show that the employer’s negligence allowed the co-worker who caused the injury to engage in harmful behaviour, such as sexual harassment or discrimination. 

However, pursuing a common law claim means ending any “no-fault” statutory claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Under the statutory phase, a degree of permanent impairment will be assessed, and WorkCover may offer a lump sum payment depending on the percentage awarded. However, pursing a common law claim allows for the compensation of additional costs outside of the impairment itself, such as loss of past and future earnings. 

What Damages Can You Claim?

In a common law claim, you can seek compensation for: 

  • Past and future income loss, including superannuation contributions. 
  • Pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. 
  • Past and future special expenses (like medical, rehabilitation, and pharmaceutical expenses, travel expenses, care, assistance, aids, and equipment). 

Keep in mind that the final damages payout will be reduced by any compensation previously paid by WorkCover. 

The Need for Legal Expertise

Proving employer negligence or vicarious liability for workplace injuries can be a complex process. Employers and WorkCover may raise various issues to deny liability. That’s where expert compensation legal professionals come in. They understand what’s required to establish employer vicarious liability and can help minimize setbacks and obstacles in your claim. 

If you have been injured at work and this article raises questions, seeking guidance from experienced compensation lawyers is a crucial step. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance with your work injury concerns. Your road to compensation starts with informed and skilled legal support. 

Like? Share it with your friends.