Every day, individuals file personal injury claims for various reasons. The people who do so might have a good reason for taking this action, while some other claims are more dubious. Anyone can file one anytime they like, though, and it’s up to the court system to determine that claim’s validity.
If you’re running a business, and one of your employees decides they must file a personal injury claim, you might wonder how that is going to impact your day-to-day operations. It’s a valid question, and we’ll take some time to talk about it today. We’ll also cover what you might expect if the worker files the claim against your company or whether their target is a person or entity not connected to you at all.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
Before we go into how these personal injury claims can impact a business and its operation, let’s make sure we’re on the same page with what that term means. When someone talks about a personal injury, what they mean is an injury to the body, emotions, or mind that someone or something else caused. In other words, an outside entity, whether a person or business, harmed an individual, or at least, they believe they can hold this person or entity liable.
If you go on the Nicolet Law website, you’ll find detailed directions on how to file a personal injury claim. Hopefully, it is not something you ever have to do, but if you’re in the situation we described, you might want to hold the individual or entity who harmed you responsible.
A Personal Injury Claim Not Directed at Your Business
We’ll start by discussing personal injury claims where your business is not the target but the person filing works for you. Even if you’re not the target, then presumably, your worker will tell you at least somewhat about the claim. They aren’t legally required to tell you anything about it, nor should you press them if you hear a rumor or they bring it up.
The biggest impact on your business is probably going to be because the worker will likely need to take some time off to concentrate on the lawsuit. Lawsuits take up a lot of time and often cost a lot of money since the injured party must pay their lawyer or legal team.
Of course, some of them will set up a contingency payment plan, meaning they don’t have to pay their lawyer unless they win the case. You can decide on what action to take if your worker has to take weeks or months off to work on this lawsuit. If they sustained a physical or psychological injury, they might be in no condition to work for you anyway.
You might decide to grant them a leave of absence. If you do that, you’ll probably have to find someone to replace them who can pick up the slack. If they hold a prominent position within the company, their absence might have a significant impact on your business entity.
You might also suggest that they can do some remote work if they have the time, and that’s an option. That will depend entirely on what they do for your company and your business model.
What About if You’re the Entity They’re Suing?
If you are the personal injury lawsuit’s target, then maybe you’re looking at something like a premises liability case. Perhaps the worker hurt themselves because of what they believe were unsafe working conditions.
Whatever the details, you must tread carefully here. You’ll need to hire a lawyer, or, if you have already, you need to tell them what’s happening immediately. They will advise you on how you should conduct yourself.
The one thing you can almost never do is fire the worker because they are suing you. You can fire them for cause, but if it turns out that cause was not ample, you’re liable to get yourself in a lot of legal trouble that way. The court system will probably feel you took malicious action against that worker.
Instead, you’re going to have to allow them to continue working for you, even as you’re preparing your defense against their claim. However, they might decide they don’t want to work while they’re getting ready to go after you or your business in court.
That’s up to them. If they decide to continue working at your company while their legal team is getting ready to make you appear in court on your business’s behalf, working with them is probably not going to be very pleasant.
If they do insist on continuing to work every day while you’re getting ready to face off against them at trial, instruct your other workers not to talk to them about the lawsuit. Try to keep everyone’s minds on their work, even though what’s happening will probably be fodder for water-cooler talk.
Whether you’re the target of the personal injury lawsuit or not, things will eventually work themselves out, one way or another. If the worker sues some outside entity or individual, they will either win their case or lose it, and they will either go back to work, or else they might elect to find a job elsewhere.
If you or your business is the target, they will either win their case, or they won’t. Regardless of whether that worker wins or loses, it’s not likely they will want to continue working for you. There will be too much bad blood, regardless of the trial’s outcome.
You might say that, whether you’re the personal injury lawsuit’s target or not, such a circumstance can distract your other workers. The best you can do is ride it out. Such claims always work their way through the court system, even though they can take a while sometimes. As a business owner, you should be glad such a legal framework is in place to protect your employees.