The legal doctrine of vicarious liability is a form of secondary liability, meaning that one party can be held accountable for the acts of another. Vicarious liability commonly arises out of the legal responsibility employers have for the actions of their employees. In other words, when an employee’s negligence or irresponsibility during the scope of their employment causes an injury, their employer may also be held liable. Throughout history, various legal terms, such as respondeat superior, principal and agent, and master and servant, have all been used to place vicarious liability on third parties that retained the right to control the person at-fault for an accident. Since employers carry comprehensive insurance policies and sufficient financial resources, establishing vicarious liability can help victims obtain total compensation for their injuries.
Personal Injury Cases That May Involve Vicarious Liability
A fundamental element that separates this legal doctrine from other forms of liability is the lack of necessary direct participation. For vicarious liability to arise, the third party is not required to be present during the accident. Instead, liability is based on the negligent actions of an employee. The most common types of personal injury lawsuits where vicarious liability may be applied include: