What Does Workplace Negligence Look Like in Virginia?

By Peter DePaolis

Negligence takes many shapes and forms. The most basic definition of negligence is a breach of duty of care. In Virginia, a person could fall victim to many different types of negligence. These include ordinary negligence, professional negligence, gross negligence, vicarious negligence and workplace negligence. Workplace negligence is a special area of law involving an employer’s liability for the injuries or deaths of employees or customers.

What Is Workplace Negligence?

Workplace negligence refers specifically to the breaches, mistakes and violations of an employer in Virginia – typically those that cause injuries or losses to employees or customers. Any action by an employer or company in Virginia that leads to physical injuries, emotional harm, illnesses, infections, property damages, losses, theft or wrongful death could constitute workplace negligence if a reasonable and prudent employer in like circumstances would not have caused the same damages.

Workplace negligence can also refer to the vicarious liability an employer has over the actions or mistakes of its employees. In Virginia, employers will be vicariously responsible for the negligence and misbehavior’s of their employees. If an employee of a restaurant negligently caused your slip and fall accident by spilling a drink and failing to clean it up, for example, the restaurant itself could be liable for your damages rather than the individual employee. An employer’s vicarious liability will typically only apply to employees, not independent contractors.

Examples of Workplace Negligence in Virginia

A workplace in Virginia could be guilty of many different forms of negligence. Any breach of the applicable standards of care for the situation could constitute negligence. When negligence by an employer or one of its employees causes worker, client, customer or consumer injuries, the company could be legally responsible for related losses.

  • Neglecting safe hiring procedures, such as failing to perform a background check.
  • Failing to fire a worker with known risks or complaints against him or her.
  • Failing to properly train workers or equip them with adequate safety gear.
  • Creating or failing to remedy a hostile work environment.
  • Ignoring known hazards or dangers in the workplace.
  • Failing to properly supervise workers.
  • Failing to enforce the required safety and health standards in the workplace.
  • Violating OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) safety standards.

Any code violation or failure to fulfill a duty of care by a company or one of its workers could constitute workplace negligence. Workplace negligence can lead to sexual harassment, discrimination, preventable accidents, property damages, personal injuries, illnesses and deaths. The employer could be directly or vicariously liable for these damages in Virginia.

Can You File a Claim for Workplace Negligence?

Employers have understood duties of care toward their workers and customers. These duties include maintaining a reasonably safe workplace, responding promptly to complaints, hiring and training employees properly, and ensuring the safety of equipment. Employers in the U.S. must also comply with applicable OSHA regulations. Any action or omission that breaches an employer’s duties of care toward others is negligence.

You might be eligible for financial compensation if you can prove the existence of workplace negligence. As is the case during most negligence claims, you or your lawyer must show proof of four main elements to have a solid claim to damages. These elements are a duty of care, breach of duty (negligence), causation and damages. If you do not know whether you have all the elements necessary for a claim, contact an attorney near you to discuss your case in more detail.

A successful workplace negligence claim against a company for its own breach of duty or that of one of its employees could result in compensation for your losses as a victim. As an injured party, you could be eligible to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, job termination, disabilities, pain and suffering, property damages, and other losses connected to the incident. Hire a Fairfax,VA professional negligence lawyer to help you go up against a defendant in Virginia for workplace negligence.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.