Negligent hiring occurs across Kentucky just about every day. It happens when an employer hires an employee who the employer knew or should have known has a propensity for dishonesty, violence, theft or otherwise unscrupulous or harmful behavior. That’s why thorough background checks can be so important before making a hiring decision.
Due Diligence in Hiring
A negligent hiring claim depends on the premise that a third person would never have come to harm if an employer used proper hiring procedures. In order to prove negligent hiring, a claimant must prove the following elements:
- The employee was not fit or competent to perform the work.
- The employer knew that the employee was not fit or competent to perform that job.
- The employee’s unfitness or incompetence created a risk of harm for others, including the claimant.
- The claimant came to harm by that unfitness or incompetence.
- The negligence of the employer was a substantial factor in causing that harm.
Negligent Hiring Example
An example of negligent hiring would be a local employer who hires a local convicted sex offender for a job that requires that employee to go into customers’ homes. If that previously convicted sex offender commits another such offense at the home of the employer’s customer, the employer can be liable for negligent hiring.
It would only have taken a background check at the local courthouse to have determined that the person who applied for the job was in fact, previously convicted of a sex offense. On the other hand, there can be no employer liability if the employer didn’t have actual or imputed knowledge that the employee had a significant criminal conviction.
Civil Courts and Criminal Courts
In cases like the sex offense from above, any criminal prosecution goes against the employee in the criminal courts. Unlike civil courts, criminal courts cannot award damages for injuries. So any claim for damages goes through the civil courts with a different judge and jury. The employee’s freedom is not at stake in a civil case for damages. As such, a lower burden of proof exists on a negligent hiring claim.
In the criminal case, the prosecution would have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil negligent hiring case, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. That means the sex assault victim’s case would be more likely true than not true. It’s a lower burden of proof.
Contact A Kentucky Lawyer About Negligent Hiring
We understand how the physical, financial and emotional consequences of a severe personal injury can have on victims. Helping clients is the heart of our practice here at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible after suffering an injury that was caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else.
An initial consultation is free, and if you retain us for your case, there is no initial retainer fee. We only collect payment if we obtain compensation for you. Our goal is to obtain he highest amount of compensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages.