What Is Vicarious Liability In Tort Law

    Vicarious liability arises in instances where a principal is liable for the act of an agent while they are conducting business. It most often happens with employers and employees, wherein the employer must take responsibility for any unlawful acts conducted by their employee during work hours – but it applies to all situations involving agents acting on behalf of principals. Let’s check what is vicarious liability in tort law.

    Vicarious Liability Meaning

    Vicarious liability means: a principal, like an employer, is liable for the acts of an agent, as an employee.

    From a business perspective, your company is usually seen as the better target defendant to sue. This means that you can provide more excellent resources and coverage for any risks because of its turnover rate and insurance availability.

    There is no test for a “duty of care” in the law of vicarious liability:

    • The agent or employee may have been negligent (which involves an evaluation of a duty of care)
    • Whether or not the employer is liable for the negligence of an employee is a matter of assessing and applying the legal test in order to establish vicarious liability.

    To establish vicarious liability, one must first prove that the agent committed a tortious act. The principal then has to have either an apparent authority or standard design with their agents to be held liable for their actions on behalf of the company.

    They’re all separate heads of liability.

    Considerations giving Rise to Vicarious Liability

    Two factors define the operation of the close connection test:

    The nature of the Employee’s Role

    What “field of activities” or function was the employee responsible for?

    The answer to the question defines the responsibility of the employee to find out how close the connection is.

    Sufficient Connection

    The connection between the position or role of the employee and the wrongful conduct. The connection needs to be sufficient.

    In modern jargon, the interplay between personal and professional is not always straightforward. The nuances of liability are many-factorial; it’s a judgment based on circumstances in each case. When an employee uses or even misuses their position to harm another person, they can be held liable for doing so if their employer was responsible for hiring them into that particular role with all its associated responsibilities – especially when employers select employees who fit within roles that may include unprofessional behavior at times like this where negligence occurs causing damages to third parties.

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    Imelda Bouchard is the owner of Gov Relations. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Finance​ at the University of Houston-Downtown. Imelda has over a decade of experience working in the finance industry. Following her stint at an international fintech company, she has decided to create a platform where businesses can make use of great business ideas.

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