On May 9, a Lafayette man filed a complaint against a coworker and his employer, Schlumberger, alleging that negligence on behalf of his coworker caused him injury. In June 2016, the man was working onboard the Ensco DS-6 drillship in the South China Sea, when actions taken by a coworker led to injuries to the man’s left eye. Schlumberger, he argues, is vicariously liable for the injury due to the actions of its employee.
The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial and compensatory damages, as well as interest and costs of suit and any further relief granted by the court.
Are Companies Always Responsible When a Coworker Causes Injury?
A coworker’s conduct can absolve a company from liability when injuries occur. While workers’ comp tends to cover most work injuries, the system will not cover those injuries:
- When the injury occurs on a lunch break
- When the injury is due to intentional harm inflicted by a coworker
- When employees are engaged in horseplay
- If a worker is engaged in non-work-related activity
If a coworker is engaged in conduct that is within the scope of his or her employment, though, and negligence leads to someone’s injury, under the theory of respondeat superior, the injured party may hold the employer liable.