In most personal injury cases, a direct claim against the person that caused your harm is the only option you have. However, under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, you may also be able to hold someone else legally responsible for your injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney.
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What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability is available when there is a special relationship between the person who caused you harm and the person supervising them.
Examples of what is considered a special relationship include:
- Parent-child relationship
- Employer-employee relationship
- Vehicle owner and vehicle driver
- Principal-agent relationship
The above are all situations where someone has authority and responsibility over someone else. In employment law, vicarious liability is called respondeat superior.
When Can Vicarious Liability Occur?
Vicarious liability can occur from the acts of employees, agents, partners, and even independent contractors if the right circumstances exist. The main element for a vicarious liability claim is control.
Is there someone above the person who harmed you who is in an authoritative control position? If so, then vicarious liability might be appropriate in your case.
For an employer to be held liable for an employee’s actions, that employee must have been acting within the regular scope of their employment when they caused you harm. If the employee was performing functions of their job at the time, you can hold their employer liable for your accident under vicarious liability.
Examples of Vicarious Liability
Vicarious liability can occur in several ways. Here are a few common examples:
- When a company driver negligently causes an accident while driving for the company. For example, say a delivery truck driver causes an accident with you, you can hold both that driver and their employer responsible for your injuries. The driver was under the control of their employer when the accident happened. So, this would fit the requirements necessary to claim vicarious liability.
- If an employee operates a piece of heavy machinery in a negligent way and causes an injury, then you might have a claim against the negligent person and the company that employs them.
These are just a few ways that vicarious liability can come into play. If you have questions about your case, then make sure to speak to an experienced attorney.
Why Vicarious Liability Exists
Vicarious liability exists to make sure that injured parties are properly compensated for their injuries. If someone caused your injury during the course of their employment, your compensation should not be limited to a personal judgment against the employee. You should also be able to hold their employer or supervisor responsible for their conduct.
Vicarious liability opens other avenues for compensation to ensure you recover your full damages after an injury. The doctrine also forces companies to take extra precautions and train their employees to act more responsibly. It prevents businesses and companies from escaping liability when one of their employees causes harm.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You with a Vicarious Liability Claim
An experienced attorney can evaluate your case to help you determine if you have a viable vicarious liability claim. An attorney will look to see how the accident occurred, who was involved, and why they were there in the first place.
The more control someone else appears to have over the person who harmed you, the more likely you are looking at a potential vicarious liability claim. If you have a vicarious liability claim, it can change your case’s entire approach and outcome. Vicarious liability claims often go for the “deepest pocket” to ensure that accident victims are properly compensated for their harm.
Contact an Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer Today for Help
Businesses will lawyer up when their employees cause an accident. They know they might be on the hook for their employees’ negligence. Accordingly, they will do everything in their power to dispute your claim.
A personal injury attorney can level the playing field and help you fight back against businesses and their insurers.