Can an Employer Be Liable for Double Compensation?


If someone caused you injuries, they may be found liable for your injuries and have to pay compensation. According to the workers’ compensation lawyer Nathaniel F. Hansford, the most common scenario for this to happen is with employers and employees. Employers could be found liable for the acts of their employees in various circumstances and may need to pay compensation for their actions. Employers may be found liable for an employee’s negligent conduct through the legal doctrine of vicarious liability and respondeat superior.

Vicarious Liability and Employers Paying for Their Employees’ Actions

In Georgia, the employer can be found liable for both their employees’ negligent and voluntary acts. Yet, employer liability comes into play only when employee conduct occurs in the course of the employee’s employment. However, it may be required to determine whether or not the person causing the injuries was an employee. If the person were an independent contractor, the employer would most likely only be found liable for the contractor’s action if the employer treated them as an employee.

If the individual is an actual employee, the next question is whether or not the employee acted within the scope of his employment. Suppose the employee was engaged in their ordinary job duties, was running an errand for the company, or acted as an agent for the employer. The court will likely find that the employee was within the scope of his employment. On the other hand, employer liability will become harder to prove if the employee was heading home after work or was off their errands.

In addition, if the employee commits a criminal act, it is getting more complicated, yet not impossible, to find the employer liable for the criminal actions. However, if an employer is found liable, it does not mean that the injured party will collect the total amount for their injuries and damages both from the employer and another employee for double recovery. In many situations, the injured party can sue both the employer and employee for damages but will only collect the total compensation from one party or partially from each party.

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Can I Have Both a Workers Comp Claim and Personal Injury Claim for the Same Injury?

It depends on the ‘Exclusive Remedy’ rule that governs Georgia. The basic rule is that if you are injured on the job, the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act provides your only remedy, meaning that you cannot sue your employer directly for damages. No matter your injuries, you can only use workers’ comp to recover. In fact, Georgia workers’ comp law prohibits an injured worker from seeking any other claim against their employer.

If a coworker or your employer caused your injury, you may be eligible to bring a personal injury claim in reserve to a worker’s comp claim. You can also file a lawsuit for injuries and damages if a defective or dangerous product causes your work injury. However, there are very complex cases, and it is not recommended to pursue them without a knowledgeable attorney to represent you.

Should you expect a double recovery? No! It does not mean a double recovery if you are going after a workers’ comp and personal injury claim for the same accident. And this is because workers’ comp claims do not pay for pain and suffering damages. They only pay for medical treatment, a permanent disability rating, and a percentage of lost wages. Workers’ comp cases will not make you whole again, but a personal injury claim will allow you to recover compensation for pain and suffering.

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