What Happens When Businesses Try To Blame Other Businesses For Your Accident?
It is a natural human reaction: When we do something wrong, or someone says we do, and we want to escape responsibility, simply blame someone else. The blame game is not just commonplace in our human interactions, but it is also common in the world of personal injury.
Multiple Responsible Parties
It is often the case when we are injured, that there is more than one actor, business or company involved that was at fault.
For example, if you are attacked in a parking lot and you sue for negligent security, the property owner may blame the private security company the owner hired. If you fall on a wet floor, the property owner may blame the private cleaning company for failing to put down a barrier or post a warning.
When this happens, when you sue the defendant, they will often say, as a defense, that it was the other company or person they hired to do a specific job or task that failed, and thus, that the property owner cannot be held liable.
Can Defendants Blame Other Companies?
Sometimes, this technique can be used—there are times when there are multiple defendants, and both or all of them may be liable for causing your injuries. But there are also times when this is not allowable. One time when it is not allowable, is when there is what is known as a non delegable duty.
Put simply, there are some things that property owners do that are so important, or so dangerous, that they cannot simply pawn off responsibility to a third party or to another company.
It used to be that doing dangerous things, or handling dangerous chemicals or hazardous waste, was non delegable—but the definition of non delegable duties has expanded.
Nowadays, many courts will not let a private business wash its hands of its obligation to keep its property safe from crime, or to maintain, fix and repair its property, or to keep its floors free from debris, by pointing the finger at some third party contractor or outside company hired to do a specific task.
Even when an outside company is hired, when there is a nondelegable duty the property owner remains liable for the failures of that third party company.
Why Do Defendants Blame Other Defendants?
It is important to know when a duty is non-delegable or not, because companies will almost always try to blame someone else for their failures—and that blame can alter your case significantly.
Companies may try to point the finger at, and blame, other companies that may be harder to sue, or which may not be able to pay a judgment entered against them. It may force you to add another defendant, adding time and complexity to your case.
Call the West Palm Beach injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you are injured on someone else’s property to understand what will happen in your case, or to have your questions answered.