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Dual Capacity Doctrine

Definition of "Dual capacity doctrine"

Rule of law under which a defendant who has two or more relationships with a plaintiff may be liable under any of these relationships. For example, an employer may be liable in two ways to an employee who incurs bodily injury on the job as the result of using a product or service produced by that employer: first, as the employer of the injured employee, and second, as the producer of the product or service that caused injury to the employee. The injured employee may then either collect benefits for job-related injuries under workers compensation or sue the employer as the producer of the defective product or service. For example, if an employee injures an arm at work while operating a machine with a defective blade that the employer manufactures, the employee can receive benefits under workers compensation or sue the employer as the manufacturer of the defective blade.

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