Strict liability, sometimes called absolute liability, is the legal responsibility for damages, or injury, even if the person or company found strictly liable was not at fault or negligent. It has been an integral part of health and safety legislation but something which the governments red tape review has hoped to change.
Employers complain that they are liable beyond the measure of common sense, even if they have acted reasonably they are still at fault. Insurers also dislike the current situation as it increases the likelihood of a payout on the policy even when a good client takes all reasonable measures to control their risk.
The Government appears to have won the battle to overhaul the law that makes employers liable to pay compensation to injured employees if they have breached statutory health and safety duties.
This amendment to the wide-ranging Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is just one of a number of Government reforms aimed at addressing the perception of a compensation culture and to reduce employers’ fear of being sued.
Viscount Younger of Leckie commented
“it is not reasonable or fair that employers should be held liable to pay compensation when they have done nothing wrong and taken all reasonable steps to protect their employees”, and stressed that the reform “does not undermine core health and safety standards”.
Whilst we have sympathy with employers we must always ensure that injured persons have the right to adequate compensation when an accidents occurs, but there is a balance to be found. We feel that the review of current legislation is likely to replace many current instances of strict liability with the “reasonably practicable” wording as an alternative. This simple change will have much the same effect but avoid the hammer blow of complete removal.
If you have questions on this subject and how it may affect your business please contact us using the links above, we’re here to help and talk is not just cheap its free on 01453 800100.