The doctrine of vicarious liability means that one person may be held liable for the acts of another person. This established legal principle comes into play most often regarding the liability of employers for the acts of their employees. There are many different names for this type of vicarious liability, including the “master and servant” rule, the laws of agency and the relationship between principal and agent, and the doctrine of respondeat superior. Vicarious liability can be very important to establish, because often it is the employer or the employer’s insurance which has the resources to properly compensate an injured individual.
The key element in establishing liability of an employer is most often determining whether or not the employee was acting within the “scope of employment” when the accident or injury occurred. An employer may argue that no tortious act is within the scope of employment, because that is not why the employee was hired, but this broad interpretation misses the point. An example of vicarious liability would be a delivery driver who collides with an automobile and causes a personal injury to the vehicle occupant while the driver was on his route. Of course, causing a collision was not part of the driver’s job, but the accident occurred while the driver was driving “within the scope of his employment,” and the employer can most likely be held vicariously liable in this instance.
New York Vicarious Liability Law and Parental Responsibility
Parents are of course responsible for their children, but whether or not they are civilly liable for tortious acts of their children is another matter. There are several ways in which parents may be considered liable for the acts of their children under New York law, but a common element is that the parent’s own negligence or failure to act appropriately contributed to the injury caused by the child. For instance, parents may be liable for their children’s actions when:
- The injury arose from the parent’s own failure to supervise or restrain the child from conduct that would endanger others, when the parent knew that the child had a propensity toward such conduct
- Parent and Child had a “master and servant” relationship, and the child was acting within the scope of his or her authority
- Parent was guilty of negligent entrustment of an instrument which would be unreasonably dangerous in the hands of a child, such as a firearm or other weapon
- The parent can be shown to have approved of or consented to the child’s behavior
Vicarious Liability of Hospitals for Medical Malpractice
Doctors are not the only health care professionals who can act negligently regarding patient care. When other hospital employees provide substandard care, the hospital may be vicariously liable for the medical malpractice of its employees.
New York Vicarious Liability Lawyer
New York personal injury lawyer Leandros Vrionedes thoroughly investigates every automobile accident, case of medical malpractice, or other accident or injury to determine all the responsible parties who may be liable to compensate the injury victim. For assistance in obtaining the maximum available compensation for a New York City personal injury, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.