Vicarious Liability: The Legal Responsibility of Employers

Under Texas law, employers are responsible for the actions of their on-duty staff. If an employee's negligence causes an injury while they are performing an authorized act (or a task related to an authorized act), then the employer is vicariously liable. It doesn't matter that the employer was not directly involved in the accident - they can still be held responsible. 

Why Vicarious Liability Matters to Your Injury Claim

Vicarious liability typically occurs when an employee is on-the-job and causes an accident. For example, if a truck driver is delivering goods and they wreck into another car, their employer would be vicariously liable. Likewise, a hospital would be considered vicariously liable if a doctor made a mistake that resulted in further injuries to a patient.

So why does this matter? If you were hurt in an accident caused by an on-the-job worker, it means that - since you'll be filing a claim against a company rather than the individual - insurance limits will be higher and you could potentially recover more money for your injuries. 

Exceptions to Vicarious Liability 

Exceptions to this rule include situations where the employee uses physical force (like if an employee assaults someone). In such cases, the act would be considered a criminal offense, so the employer would have no vicarious liability. 

A Few Similar Terms to Know

Principal's Liability

This can occur in car crashes when the at-fault driver is not the owner of the vehicle. While in most situations it would be logical to pursue a claim against the driver's insurance regardless of what automobile they were driving, if they were driving someone else's vehicle in order to perform a task on the owner's behalf, then the owner of the vehicle might actually be vicariously liable.

Parental Liability

Parents already have a reasonable responsibility for their children's actions, but the legal concept of parental vicarious liability is still an issue which is evolving within tort law. Regardless, parents do have a definitive liability for their own negligent acts, which could include failure to supervise a child. Similarly, if a parent fails to keep a dangerous article, such as a gun, out of a child's reach, the parent would be vicariously liable if the child was then to accidentally shoot someone.

Other articles you might be interested in:
The Dilemma: Should you Make A Claim?  
Deadline For Filing Personal Injury Claims  
How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Attorney?  
Why It's So Important To Document Your Claim  
What A Good Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do For You   

Mark A. Anderson
Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas