If you are like most people who have been injured by the wrongdoing of another, your immediate concerns are likely making sure that justice is served and that you are able to recover from your injuries. Our civil court system is built on the principle that we want to hold wrongdoers accountable for the harm and injury that they cause, but an even more important principle is that injured victims should be able to get the care they need and be made whole again. The concept of vicarious liability in the world of personal injury means that sometimes defendants who did not themselves take the wrongful action that caused injury to the victim should nonetheless be held financially accountable to the victim in order to promote full recovery on the part of that victim. Below we discuss a few of the basics in the hugely important topic of vicarious liability.
Vicarious Liability Explained Via Pizza
Put simply, a defendant who is vicariously liable in a personal injury case is being held accountable for the actions of another person or entity. The most common scenario in which we see this is in the employer-employee context. When an employee takes an action that injures another, and that action was taken in the course of that employee’s work on behalf of the employer, then the employer will be liable, along with the employee, to pay all damages for which the employee is found liable.
Take the example of a delivery driver working on behalf of a pizza chain. If that driver runs a red light while racing to make a delivery and injures a pedestrian, then the driver will be directly liable to the pedestrian for his injuries. Although the driver might have insurance, if the pedestrian was seriously injured there is a good chance the lifetime costs of those injuries could well exceed the driver’s insurance coverage. Because the driver was driving on behalf of the pizza chain, then the pizza chain will be vicariously liable to the pedestrian for the injuries, even though the driver was at fault. Even though running red lights is probably against the policy of any company employing pizza drivers, this does not affect liability as the action of running the red light was done in service of the company.
Because an employer likely has greater resources to be able to cover the full range of a victim’s injuries, vicarious liability thus becomes a critical source of recovery in many personal injury cases. Outside of the employer-employee context, we also see vicarious liability come up in situations involving partners acting on behalf of partnerships, clients employing independent contractors, and owners of vehicles lent out to non-owner operators.
Experienced Southern California Attorneys In Your Personal Injury Matter
The attorneys at The Kaufman Law Firm has consistently won six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured victims across Southern California. They will work with you from the moment you call to investigate your matter and build your best possible case for recovery. Contact The Kaufman Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.