What is vicarious liability?

September 22, 2009

Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that holds a person responsible for the actions of another person. Vicarious liability means that Person A can be held legally responsible for the harm caused by Person B’s negligent actions – even though Person A did not directly cause that harm. It is an exception to the general rule that we are only responsible for our own actions.

A common example of vicarious liability is respondeat superior, a specific instance of vicarious liability where an employer is held liable for the actions of their employee. For instance, suppose that Jake works at ABC Grocery Store, and he’s unloading a crate of sacks of flour and putting them on a shelf. Rather than carefully placing the sacks on the shelf, however, Jake is tossing them onto the shelf without paying attention to whether any customers are in the area.

Sally, a shopper, is walking down the aisle and one of the sacks of flour lands on her foot and breaks her toes. Even though it was Jake’s negligence that caused Sally’s injuries, Jake’s employer may be held legally responsible under the doctrine of vicarious liability.

The purpose of vicarious liability is to ensure that the proper person is held accountable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Vicarious liability sometimes applies in Texas personal injury lawsuits. It is important that an attorney fully understands the concept of vicarious liability to make certain that the right people are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

If you have questions about Texas personal injury lawsuits and who is liable for your injuries, contact Fears | Nachawati for free legal advice. You can reach us by email at info@fnlawfirm.com or by phone at 1.866.705.7584.



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