In some Maryland personal injury cases, a business employer may be responsible for injuries caused by the carelessness of their employees. When an independent contractor or state or government entity is involved, however, there may be specific legal concepts to consider. In a January 23, 2019 Maryland negligence claim, the plaintiff appealed after the circuit court dismissed his claims against a local sanitary commission for the negligence of an independent subcontractor.
The plaintiff in the case was injured in an accident that occurred when his vehicle hit a manhole that was only partially covered. The plaintiff sued to recover damages from the local sanitary commission, which was responsible for the manhole cover. The commission argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the negligence of a subcontractor of an independent contractor that it hired. The commission claimed it had no control over the subcontractor and, therefore, could not be vicariously liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
In Maryland, the general rule is that the employer of an independent contractor is not liable for the negligence of the contractor or his employees. However, there are a number of exceptions to the general rule that would extend liability to those who hire independent contractors. These exceptions include the employer’s negligence in selecting or supervising the contractor, non-delegable duties of the employer to the public or a particular plaintiff, and work that is inherently dangerous.