Can a corporation be a defendant in a Florida personal injury lawsuit? Yes, as long as you can find a basis for holding the corporation responsible for the injury. Sometimes, you can sue both the corporation and a corporate officer or employee. 

In the typical case, however, the corporation is the party that has the most money to pay your claim.

Bases for Corporate Liability

There are many reasons why you might be able to hold a corporation liable for your personal injury. Below are some descriptions of the most common reasons.

Liability as an Employer

If a corporate employee injures you through negligent behavior, you might be able to sue the corporation. The mere fact that the employee was on duty at the time of the accident is not enough to place liability upon the corporation. 

Instead, the employee must have been acting within the scope of their employment. If so, then you can sue both the employee and the corporation, or either one.  

Remember that corporate liability based on “acting within the scope” applies to employees, not to independent contractors. A corporation that hires an independent contractor, such as most truckers, can escape liability for the contractor’s misconduct as long as the corporation itself was not negligent.

Negligent Hiring, Retention, or Supervision

A corporation must investigate the background of anyone they hire. A corporation that hires a driver with a bad driving record, for example, can bear liability for any ensuing accident, even if the driver was an independent contractor. 

A corporation can also bear liability for retaining an employee after it becomes aware, or should have become aware, of the danger that their worker represents.  

Premises Liability

A corporation that owns or operates real estate bears liability to its customers and other guests for non-obvious dangerous conditions on their property. The corporation must repair or warn of dangerous conditions on the property. That’s why you so frequently see “Caution: Wet Floor” signs at business establishments. 

Product Liability

If a corporation manufactures or even distributes a dangerous product, they can bear liability for any injuries that the product causes. The victim does not even have to prove that the corporation was at fault to win their claim. 

In other words, a corporate manufacturer or distributor of a product essentially acts as an insurer of the product. 

Corporate Decisions

A formal corporate decision–made in an official resolution, for example–is considered an act of the corporation itself. If the resolution or decision authorizes wrongful conduct that harms someone, the corporation can bear liability. 

Suing a Corporation

To sue a corporation for personal injury, take the following steps:

  • Determine the appropriate court. If the amount in controversy is less than $8.000, you can file your claim in small claims court.
  • Confirm the legal name and principal place of business of the corporation.
  • Submit a formal written complaint along with the filing fee.
  • Deliver the appropriate documents to the corporation’s registered agent, in the appropriate manner, to notify them of the lawsuit.
  • The corporation will have 20 days to file an answer or another response.
  • Engage in the pretrial discovery evidence-gathering process.
  • Attempt to settle your claim.
  • Prepare for trial.
  • Attend the trial and await the verdict.
  • Consider post-trial motions or appeals.

Since each step in this process involves specific legal procedures and deadlines, it is best to move with all deliberate speed.

Settling With a Corporation

You can negotiate a settlement before or after you file a lawsuit. In fact, you can continue negotiations even during jury deliberations. You can accept a settlement offer in exchange for dropping your lawsuit against the corporation.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Lawsuit

Suing a corporation is not necessarily an easy task. Large corporations almost always have a legal department packed with high-priced lawyers. Even a small corporation likely has access to legal resources that you would lack if you tried to represent yourself. 

Fortunately, however, you don’t need to worry that you don’t have enough money to hire a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer won’t charge you legal fees unless you get compensation. 

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442