What to do about a personal injury caused by a door-to-door salesperson?

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What to do about a personal injury caused by a door-to-door salesperson?

A traveling saleswomen came to our door selling cleaning chemicals. I explained to her that we just buried my mother-in-law the day before so it wasn’t a good time. The lady became very rude and combative, going as far as to spray my wife with a chemical which caused a rash and severe itching. She was subsequently arrested and booked after we called 911. She even assaulted the police. I looked at the company website and their sales reps are listed as independent contractors. Can we still go after the company?

Asked on April 5, 2012 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

Richard Weaver / The Weaver Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A good determining factor to see if the person was truly an independant contractor would be to examine the type and amount or degree of control that the Employer has over the Employee / so-called independant contractor. Then, yes you can sue the employer. But there may be other claim. Negligent hiring of the independant contractor?

DRichard White / MoKan Personal Injury Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Just because a company website states that their sales reps are independent contractors does not mean that in fact the reps are indeed independent contractors. Whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor needs to be determined from the letters of engagement between the company and the sales rep, the extent of control the company exercises over the sales rep and a host of other questions. If it can be proven that the reps are actually employees then the company can be sued despite what it says on its website. Even if the sales rep was an independent contractor the company can still be sued if it can be proven that [1] the sales rep had a history of such inappropriate behavior, [2] the company knew of the sales reps' inappropriate behavior history and [3] despite such knowledge the company continued to allow the sales rep to be an independent contractor for the company.


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