FAQ: What is Vicarious Liability?

In a normal personal injury case, Person A engages in a negligent act and injures Person B. As a result, Person A is liable for the injuries.

Vicarious Liability is a form of indirect liability that occurs when parties have a particular relationship or agency between them. The most common forms of Vicarious Liability are:

  1. An employer being liable for injuries caused by an employee “in the course of their employment”.
  2. A parent being liable for the injuries caused by their minor child.
  3. A bar or restaurant being liable for injuries caused by an over served patron (e.g. one who is already obviously intoxicated or is under the age of 21).  A TABC course by the bartender also plays into this circumstance. 
  4. The owner of a commercial vehicle that is rented to an individual who does not have a commercial driver’s license, can be found liable for injuries caused by the renter of the vehicle.

Someone found vicariously liable need not be aware of the accident that causes the injury.

An independent contractor does not expose an employer to Vicarious Liability. It can only be applied with actual employees. In many cases, the difference between employee and independent contractor is not obvious.