Vicarious Liability: Issues a Personal Injury Lawyer Grapples with

Broadly defined in the world of a Personal Injury Lawyer, Vicarious Liability refers to instances where a superior or an employer takes responsibility for the negligent acts committed to a third party on account of a wrongdoing attributed to his/her subordinate. There are various justifications for vicarious liability.

First, it is presumed that the actions of the superior can indirectly be held to be the actions of the subordinate. This is due to the simple fact that the subordinate was acting towards the superior’s cause and as such, his/her actions cannot be reasonably detached from those of the superior.

The second justification for vicarious liability is that the employer or superior is better endowed with resources and can be said to be having the “means” to compensate third parties who may be harmed by the subordinate’s conduct. After all, “you don’t sue a man of straw.

What then is the relevance of the concept of vicarious liability to an Accident Attorney? The concept of Vicarious Liability informs a Personal Injury Lawyer the party to be sued in the event of harm to the client. For example, if John, a construction worker, sustains injury at work attributed to the actions of his coworker Sam in a company owned by Mike and located in Richmond VA, anyone would exonerate the company from responsibility and argue that since Sam is solely responsible for the harm, he should suffer the consequences. However, application of the doctrine of vicarious liability would inform a Personal Injury Lawyer Richmond VA that in as much as suing the perpetrator of the wrongful conduct would be logically sound, joining the employer as a party to the suit would yield the best results. After all, most companies are required to insure their employers and hence the company will not pay the damages from their bank account.

However, not all actions of an employee can be said to be within the doctrine of vicarious liability. In certain instances, a subordinate can be personally liable for his/her actions. This doctrine is only applicable within certain guidelines as highlighted herein after:

  • Authorization

The acts of the subordinate must have been authorized by the superior. In this regard, a person may be said to have done an act under the authority of his/her superior if it is interrelated with his/her course of work-even though not done precisely as it ought to have been done. Though an improper mode of fulfilling the instructions given by a superior, the employer will still be vicariously liable for the actions of the subordinate.

  • Independent contractors

A Personal Injury Lawyer needs to assess whether damage was caused by an independent contractor or the employer of the independent contractor and his/her subordinates. Common law is clear that an employer will not be liable for the negligent acts of an independent contractor that caused injury to a third party.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Richmond VA should therefore tread carefully in matters touching on vicarious liability and analyze the issues of a case meticulously to determine the defendants in a case.

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