what is a tort and, what is negligence?

I’m stuck on a Business question and need an explanation.

As a Manager and business executive, you know an important part of providing for your employees is safety in the workplace. When a worker gets hurt on the job and “in the scope of his or her employment,” they have two avenues in which to seek compensation for their injuries and costs. One is to sue the employer for the tort of negligence if it is warranted, the other is worker’s compensation for injuries on the job.

First, what is a tort and, what is negligence?

  • Pursuant to the chapter reading, a tort is: a private wrong. Some type of interference with someone or with someone’s property that results in either injuries or damages (financial costs) to the person or property. Example: You hit your coworker over the head because they sneezed on you. You have committed the intentional tort of battery. (Don’t confuse this with the criminal charge of battery). A tort is a private civil action between two parties. A crime is the state coming after you for a crime.
  • Negligence is a type of tort and per the reading, negligence is: when the conduct of one party does not live up to a certain minimal “standard of care.” We call this the reasonable person standard. Negligence imposes liability when we are careless and there are four required elements to prove negligence, ie. legal duty, breach of legal duty, causation and damages or injuries.

Worker’s compensation works like a state insurance plan and the goal is to get the worker back on the job. It is designed to be immediate so the worker does not have to wait to start “getting healthy.” When a worker elects worker’s compensation, it becomes their “exclusive remedy.” Thus, they give up their right to sue the employer for injuries or for a tort. Most worker’s compensation programs are state run and most employers are required by state law to have worker’s compensation insurance.

See the link for your home state: https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/regs/compliance/wc.htm

When it comes to safety in the workplace – what is the law?

We look to the Department of Labor and the administrative laws below and generally, employers are required to follow a standard “reasonable duty of care.” This duty can become heightened with the type of job. See the links below:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

https://www.osha.gov/

Fair Labor Standards Act

https://www.dol.gov/whd/

Office of Worker’s Compensation

https://www.dol.gov/owcp/

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