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Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is when a person is held responsible for the actions of another person even though they are not physically present at the same time. One entity may be held vicariously liable for someone else’s carelessness, even if he or she was not present at the time of the negligent act, in a personal injury case. In order to establish such a relationship, people who have been injured must find some form of connection between the two parties.

If you need assistance filing a claim against a party that may be vicariously responsible for someone else’s misconduct, please contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Texas Personal Injury Lawyers. The consultation is completely free, and we will not charge you anything while we work on your case.

Principles Of Vicarious Liability

Typically, a person is held accountable for his or her own behavior, including negligent behaviors. However, under the legal principle of vicarious liability, a party not directly involved in someone else’s negligence may be held liable financially as long as there is a link between the two events. The following two legal concepts serve as the foundation for vicarious liability.

Types Of Vicarious Liability

  • Qui Facit Per Alium Facit Per Se

This is the Latin phrase for “he who does something via another is responsible for it”. It was first used in the 14th century.

Based on the preceding definition, if someone allows another to complete a task or knowingly permits someone to borrow something while knowing he or she would be held vicariously liable for carelessness that causes harm to a third party, it is considered acting in an “on-demand” capacity.

  • Respondeat Superior

Latin for “Let the master answer.”

A superior is held responsible for his or her underlings’ actions during this time. An example would be an employer being held financially responsible for the behavior of an employee.

An Employer’s Vicarious Liability In Response To An Employee’s Actions


Respondeat Superior, a Latin phrase that means “let the master answer,” is one of the primary legal concepts of vicarious liability. Simply stated, this implies that an employer may be sued for monetary compensation if an employee acts within the scope of his or her employment.

Activities that fall within the scope of employment are those that an employee is expected to undertake as part of his or her job description.

Employers may be held responsible for an employee’s negligent behavior while performing work activities. A delivery firm, for example, might be held liable for injuries caused by a vehicle accident if the transport truck driver is to blame.

However, because vicarious liability is only applicable when an employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment, there are certain limitations to this legal concept. For example, an employer may not be held vicariously liable for damages incurred by a delivery driver who veers off his or her route to run a personal errand and causes an accident.

Vicarious Liability For Deliberate Acts


Since the Lister v Hesley Hall decision, it has been clear that an employer may be held vicariously liable for intentional harm committed by an employee (or in certain situations, others in a comparable or analogous position) subject to fulfillment of the required criteria.

To see whether the connection is close enough, the court will examine the following factors:

  • The opportunity for the employee to abuse his or her power that came with the company
  • Whether or not the defendant had specific knowledge of the plaintiff’s activities before taking part in them, and whether or not they could have influenced the employer’s aims if they did know.
  • The extent to which the unlawful act was connected to friction, conflict, or intimacy within the employer’s business
  • The extent of power the employee has over the victim.
  • The vulnerability of potential victims to the employee’s power being misused.

Non-sexual physical assaults by an employee and horseplay or pranks that go wrong are among the most prevalent scenarios.

Parents’ Vicarious Liability For Their Minor Children


Parents may be held responsible for their minor children’s negligent behavior in Texas if it can be shown that the child’s negligence is attributable to a parent’s failure to exercise proper control and reasonable discipline over the youngster.

Parents can also be held vicariously liable for their child’s intentional or malicious behaviors, but the amount of compensation that may be paid to a victim is limited to $25,000 in these instances.

Vicarious Liability Of A Vehicle Owner


Another Latin phrase that translates to “He who acts through another performs the act himself” is another key component of the vicarious liability legal theory. This means that an individual acting on behalf of another who causes harm to a third party may be held liable in the same manner as the other.

Someone who lends his or her automobile to someone else and allows that person to cause an accident may be held responsible under Texas’s negligent entrustment theory.

The legal theory goes against common law, which states that automobile owners are not responsible for injuries caused by someone who has borrowed their vehicle.

Proving Vicarious Liability


If your injuries were caused by someone working within the scope of their employment or on behalf of someone else, you may use a number of items to show that a third person is liable for your damages, such as:

  • Description of job duties
  • Employment information
  • Vehicle ownership information

Scope And Impact Of Vicarious Liability


Under a contract of employment, the most common type of relationship that will result in vicarious liability is that of employer and employee. It appears that such a connection will be enough to pass the two-step test.

Vicarious liability is not limited to employment situations or business partnerships that include a contract of employment.

Although the words employer and employee are used frequently in case law, the court will frequently be called upon to evaluate contracts or arrangements that do not resemble conventional employment. More and more, this will be the case in today’s business world.

Need Help Filing A Claim? 

Call Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Today


It might be difficult to handle a claim in which someone else may be held accountable for your damages on your own since there could be several other things to consider.

Fortunately, Texas Personal Injury Lawyers have expertise in handling a wide range of claims and assisting Texas accident victims in receiving the compensation they deserve for medical expenses, missed wages, and other non-economic losses. We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely free.