Vicarious liability, also known as "imputed liability," makes a person liable for the actions of another. Vicarious liability is commonly applied in the employee-employer relationship. When an employee is negligent on the job, the employer is legally responsible for any damage or injury the employee causes. This allows a victim to sue the employer, who is likely to have deeper pockets than the employee.

When Am I Responsible for My Employee's Actions?

An employer can be vicariously liable for his employee's actions when: 

  • The employer knowingly hires unqualified employees and a harm results
  • An employee was unfit to be retained and that a supervisor knew of this employee's unfitness
  • Failure to provide adequate supervision leads to an injury
  • Insufficient or no policies or procedures are in place and leads to injuries
  • Failure in training or directing employees in their job duties leads to an injury

What Defenses Do I Have in Vicarious Liability?

An employer can avoid vicarious liability when: 

  • The employee's conduct is not within the scope of his or her employment
  • The employer has no knowledge of the conduct or approves such conduct
  • The employer acted reasonably to prevent and correct any negative actions
  • The employee unreasonably failed to use any preventive or corrective measures offered by the employer to avoid harm or injury

Should I Consult an Attorney about Vicarious Liability?

If you or a loved one has been injured, you should speak to an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. If you are being sued by another party for vicarious liability, you should consult a personal injury lawyer to learn about your possible defenses and liability for your employee's actions.