What You Need to Know About Vicarious Liability


Personal Injury Attorneys Blog

What do you need to know when you’ve been injured by the employee of a company? Do you sue employee, the company or both? If an employee harms you, the employer may be liable for your injury under the doctrine of vicarious liability. This article will provide you with more information about vicarious liability, situations in which it applies and when to seek legal counsel if you have a claim.

What is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability means that an employer is liable for an employee’s negligent actions if the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment. In order to sue the employer, you must be able to prove that the employee acted negligently and that that negligence injured you. For example, a pizza delivery driver is carefully driving, loses control of his vehicle on an iced-over road and hits your car. The employer is not liable for your injuries because the employee had not been negligent in his actions. However, if an employee had acted negligently, the employer would be liable, assuming that the employee was acting within the scope of his employment.

What are the requirements of Scope of Employment?

There are three requirements for the scope of employment that caused an employer to be liable. Those requirements are:

1.   The employee was working when they injured you:

The employee had to have injured you during his working hours. An example of this would be a delivery driver clocks into his 6-hour work shift at 6PM and negligently hits your car at 7PM while delivering a pizza.

2.   The injury was caused by an activity that the employee was hired to perform:

An employee must have been acting negligently while carrying out a job task. Using the delivery driver scenario, the delivery driver delivering a pizza would be an example of an activity that the driver was hired to perform.

3.   The employer has the right to control the method and manner in which the employee conducted business activity.

For example, if the pizza delivery driver was driving a company vehicle, told where to go by the company, and how quickly to deliver the pizza, then they would be liable.

If you think you have a claim for damages due to vicarious liability, contact our experienced team of attorneys today.

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