03 Nov Business Owner Liability When Hiring a Private Investigator
It’s easy to feel paranoid about consequences when hiring a PI. After all, the situations that lead you to hire a private investigator tend to follow suspicions that you can’t nail down or explain to other legal bodies.
If you weren’t worried, you wouldn’t need to hire someone. That’s why it’s important to understand that as a business owner, liability only falls on you if there is wrongdoing.
Much like the liability you face for an injury on your property, if you’ve done your diligence to make an area safe, you are protected. Likewise, PIs work within the law to ensure that their results, and your liability, are both protected.
The following elaborates on this principle.
Snapshotting Business Owner Liability
A business is responsible for a variety of conditions on a property as well as the conduct of employees acting in an official capacity for the business. For a property, this includes keeping the premises clear of hazards, marking out known hazards, and providing clean and safe access to the public. For employees, this means hiring individuals capable of doing the work and ensuring employees act safely in the workplace and around the public. Personal liability insurance is different from premises liability coverage for this reason.
A PI is a third-party worker. They work in an official capacity for a business but are not part of the business entity. This category of workers also includes delivery drivers, temps, and independent contractors.
Understanding Third-Party Liability
The actions of a third party reflect on a company but also offer some legal distance. When you hire a contract worker or for-hire service to do a job, you are entrusting them to do the work within a certain standard. This is why many third-party services have bonds and insurance.
Hiring an unlicensed worker to do a job that requires a license could expose a business to claims of negligence. However, having done due diligence in the hiring the bulk of the liability would be on the third party.
A qualified PI knows the local laws and knows what their license does and doesn’t cover. PIs work within the law, providing a high-quality version of work that any individual could do.
For the most part, investigators access publicly accessible information. They do so efficiently through practice and insider knowledge.
Legal Loopholes and Evidence
At the end of the day, a PI needs to ensure that the evidence they bring forth is procured legally or it will be tossed out and no use in a court. They also need to avoid harassing people and trespassing on property. Careful documentation helps maintain the chain of custody of information. Physical evidence such as photos and recordings need to be shown free of manipulation and above reproach.
Hiring a PI doesn’t create an issue for a business owner, liability, or insurance costs. In fact, hiring a PI is a great way to show diligence and provide a positive defense against liability and negligence claims made by others.
At Robert Caswell Investigations, we take precautions to help you operate safely. Contact us for more information about availability and services.