Vicarious Liability

Vicarious Liability Meaning

Vicarious Liability, also known as imputed liability, is a kind of liability that can be imposed not on the person who committed the wrongful action but on some other person who has the authority over the person committing the wrongful act.

Explanation

Mr. Michel is employed in M/s L & T Ltd since 2005. This firm provides taxation services to clients. Mr. John is the supervisor of Mr. Michel. They have one client, Mr. James. Both John and James are cousin brother, and there is a legal dispute between them.

Vicarious-Liability

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Now John tells Michel to provide wrong information about his taxation because it will cause loss of money by James, but John refused to do the same, then John warned Michel that if you don’t do what I am telling you, then I will terminate you from the office.

In the above case, vicarious liability to be imposed on Mr. John.

Principle

The doctrine of vicarious liability is generally applicable to civil law; in some exceptional cases, it is applicable in criminal cases also. If any employee of entity is committing a wrongful act or any offense, then all the employees of the entity who wanted to do the same will be held liable for that wrongful act or offense.

Example

  • Liability of the Employer for doing wrongful acts by his employee.
  • Liability of the Principal for doing wrongful acts by his agent.
  • Liability of partners for doing wrongful acts for each other.
  • Liability of master for doing a wrongful act by his servant.

Some acts, below which are not limited that can impose and employer or principal can be liable for vicarious liability:-

  • Violation of copyright
  • Sexual or other Harassment
  • Violation of confidentiality
  • Physical and/or mental abuse

Practical Example

Robert has a JCB Machine Driver David. If David negligently hits Paul, then Robert will be liable. But if Robert hires a JCB Machine and the driver David negligently hits Paul, then Robert will not be liable towards Paul because the driver David is not the servant of Robert but an independent person. In case of involving vicarious liability, the doctrine of ‘Respondeat Superior’ (let the master answer) will be applicable.

Types of Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability can be many situations under which A Person (Mr. Roi) other than that person ( Mr. Neil) who has control or having ownership of A Person (Mr. Roi). Basic types include Principal liability and parental liability.

Vicarious Liability Types

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#1 – Principal Liability

Under principal liability, the employer to be liable for doing a wrongful act by his employee within the course of employment. We can understand through an example below.

Mrs. Nancy is the owner of the car and driver, Mr. Robert. Mr. Robert hit Mr. Thomas negligently. Now vicarious liability to be imposed on Mrs. Nancy. Now, on the other hand, if Mrs. Nancy hires a taxi, and in that case, the driver, Mr. Robert, will be liable for vicarious liability.

#2 – Parental Liability

Under parent liability, parents to be liable for doing wrongful acts by their children.

If parents are allowing to his child (less than the age which is as per norms) to drive the bike on the road and his child hits someone, negligent acts done by their child.

In such cases, parents will be liable if they aren’t taking care of their child. If parents didn’t give the key to his son and taking care of him, then they would not have liable for vicarious liability.

We can understand through an example below.

Mr. and Mrs. Kevin has a son Peter aged 12 years. Peter takes the key to his father’s car from his father and drive and hits the car to Jack. Now in the above case, vicarious liability to be imposed on Parents Mr. and Mrs. Kevin because they gave the key to his son.

Why is Vicarious Liability Important?

  • It is important to identify the actual defaulter in case such an instance happens.
  • It is important to identify the act committed by the person is wrongful or not.
  • It is important so that person can’t harm/damage/hits to another person knowingly or unknowingly.
  • It is important for adhering to true and fair employment practices in the office.

Reasons for Vicarious Liability

  1. It can be occurred due to the personal benefit of a person in terms of cash or kind.
  2. It can occur because a person has the intention to hit/damage to another person due to a dispute between both parties.
  3. Employers can gain from any amount of profit from his employees, and he also bears any amount of loss from their employees.

Conclusion

The principle of vicarious liability is determined from the famous doctrine of “Qui facit per se per alium facit per se” which means he who does an act through another does the act himself.

Such liability is imposed on the employer for the wrongful acts done by his employee, even when the employer is not known for such a wrongful act committed by the employee. Employees should not execute such work, which results in their employer.

But a person who is working on a contract basis then the person who is doing the wrongful act, in the course of completion of work, to be liable for vicarious liability.

In the Case of Principal-agent relationship, this liability to be imposed on the principal for a wrongful act done by the agent so the agent should not do such work, which results in vicarious liability on his principal.

In the case of a Master- servant relationship, it is imposed on master for a wrongful act done by the servant, so the servant should not do such work, which results in vicarious liability on his master.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Vicarious Liability, and it’s Meaning. Here we discuss types and examples of vicarious liability with their elements and principle. You can learn more about from the following articles –