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What Is Vicarious Liability?

The tort system, which sets the code to by followed by a personal injury lawyer, has identified a specific situation, one in which one person gets assigned vicarious liability. A personal injury attorney in Martinez and Rocklin might refer to this type of situation as imputed negligence.

To whom is vicarious liability assigned?

That is the person that has a legal relation to another person, someone that has been charged with negligence in a personal injury claim.

What are some examples of relations in which one party might be charged with vicarious liability?

• A parent and child
• A husband and wife
• The owner of a vehicle and the same vehicle’s driver
• An employer and an employee
• A hospital and the staff members in that hospital
• The authorities in a City government and the City workers

The rules that apply to imputed negligence can best be understood by studying when and how an employee’s actions might cause an employer to be charged with vicarious liability. An employer might forget to tell an employee to take a certain safety precaution, when performing a new duty. If the omission of that precaution causes another worker to get injured, the employer could be held responsible. The employer’s act of omission represents an act of negligence.

Suppose an employer directed an employee to store a toxic substance in unmarked containers, and then someone used that toxic material, without knowing what it was. Because the employer authorized the dangerous act, the employer would be held responsible for any injuries or damage that result from the use of that toxic substance.

The above examples show that the employer had to authorize the negligent act or the negligent omission. The employee had to be doing something that related to his or her job. Because the employee gets paid by the employer, any damages or injuries caused by the employee’s actions cannot be called independent negligence.

How might an employer be affected by someone else’s independent negligence?

Suppose an employer hired an independent contractor to complete plumbing repairs in one of the company’s buildings. Then suppose that same contractor failed to install a washer properly, and water began running into a tub with a stopped drain. Eventually, the water came over the top of that tub and onto the floor. This would have caused water damage. If anyone slipped on the floor and got injured, someone could be held responsible for those injuries. Would it be the employer or the contractor?

The contractor was working independent of the employer’s directions. Thus, the employer could not be charged with vicarious liability. The contractor could be held responsible for any damages and any injuries suffered, either by employees of the company, or of the contractor.