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How to Establish Vicarious Liability in a Personal Injury Case

Leg and yellow helmet of injured lying worker at work.

When you are injured by the negligent act of another, then the individual who committed the negligent act is liable to you. But other parties may also be liable to you based on the legal theory of vicarious liability, and those parties may be in a much better financial position (through either insurance or other financial reserves) to actually be able to pay you the damages to which you are owed. Here are a few basic principles regarding the establishment of vicarious liability in a personal injury case.

Was the Injurious Act in the Scope of an Individual’s Employment?

The employer-employee relationship is the most common form of vicarious liability. If an employee negligently injured you while in the scope of his or her employment, then the employer will generally be vicariously liable to you. For example, if a construction worker dropped materials on your head as you were walking by, then his or her employer will be liable for your injuries.

Even if the acts were not sanctioned by the employer but were still done by the employee (right or wrong) in the scope of employment, then there should still be vicarious liability. For example, if a retail store worker violated company policy by injuring you while improperly detaining you for shoplifting, the employer will still be vicariously liable. Things get trickier when the employee was off-duty (e.g. on lunch, or on his way home in a company uniform) but there still may be cases in which the employer will be vicariously liable.

Other Sources of Vicarious Liability

Even where there is not an employer-employee relationship between the party that injured you and the defendant you seek to sue, there may nonetheless be vicarious liability of some other theory of liability on which to base liability. Clients of independent contractors, for example, who are not employees of their clients, may be vicariously liable for the contractor’s’ actions in some cases. A partnership can also be liable for actions taken by its individual partners or their agents. Also, the owner of a car might be vicariously liable for injuries caused by a party to whom the owner lent the car.

Parents of children are generally not vicariously liable for their kids’ actions, but another cause of action such as failure to supervise the child may entitle you to recover from the parent.

Speak With an Experienced Pasadena Personal Injury Attorney Today

With over 30 years experience litigating cases to successful settlements and verdicts, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz in Pasadena know how to put forward your best case for full recovery. Our legal team represents injured victims and their families across Los Angeles. To schedule a free consultation with a Pasadena personal injury lawyer, contact us today.

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