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A Guide to Vicarious Liability in Texas

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What is the Legal Doctrine of Vicarious Liability?

The principle of vicarious liability holds a third party liable for someone else’s negligence. An example where the law can apply is in trucking accident cases where the injured victim pursues legal action against the trucking company even though the driver caused the accident.

Vicarious liability is also known as imputed liability or “respondeat superior.” Lawyers from a civil litigation firm in Mesquite can help you understand how vicarious liability applies to your personal injury claim.

What Are the Elements of Vicarious Liability?

There are several examples of vicarious liability cases, and it is essential to understand the crucial elements around the concept:

  • Principal: This is the third party legally responsible for the vicarious liability because of the actions taken by their agent. The third party can be a person, employer, entity, or company with authority over the agent and could be a manager, boss, or has some responsibility over the agent.
  • Agent: An agent is someone who performed an action that caused injury or harm to another and has a position below the principal. Typically, an agent is an employee but could be a child.
  • Plaintiff: The plaintiff is the victim who sustained injuries due to the agent’s reckless actions
  • Scope of employment: For the rule of vicarious liability to apply, the agent must have acted within their scope of work, and the injury to the plaintiff must have happened in the course of the agent’s responsibilities as bound by the professional relationship between themselves and the principal.

Personal injury attorneys in Mesquite explain that the principal can be held liable if the agent harmed the plaintiff during their duties. Vicarious liability doesn’t apply if the employee diverges from their scope of employment.

How Does Vicarious Liability Apply to Personal Injury Claims?

The concept of vicarious liability can be complex to navigate without the legal assistance of skilled personal injury attorneys in Mesquite. The principle doesn’t apply in every personal injury case in Texas and mostly plays a role in cases where a third party bears legal responsibility for the defendant’s actions.

Three parties affected mainly by the vicarious liability principle are:

  • Employers
  • Parents or legal guardians
  • Alcohol vendors

A vicarious liability case is mostly reported when a personal benefit is involved in cash or kind. However, it can also happen when someone intends to cause damage to another person, whether physically or to their reputation, due to a dispute between the two parties.

What Are Some Examples of Vicarious Liability Claims?

Personal injury attorneys in Mesquite handle various types of vicarious liability claims. Here are a few examples that can help you understand how the concept works:

Vicarious Liability in the Employer-Employee Context

Vicarious liability is mainly common in the employer-employee context. It occurs when an employee causes damage to another person while acting on behalf of or performing duties for the employer. If that happens, the victim, with the help of their Mesquite, TX, personal injury lawyers, can hold the employer liable and file a compensation claim against them.

However, if the employee was not acting within the course of their employment at the time of the accident, the employer can’t be held vicariously liable. For example, if a delivery driver was on a lunch break and driving to a restaurant when they crashed into another driver, the driver’s employer may not be vicariously liable for the victim’s injuries.

Vicarious Liability in the Parent-Child Context

Vicarious liability is also common in contexts involving children under 18. When minors are engaged in activities that expose them to personal injury, their parents or guardians are likely to be held liable for the injuries.

For example, a parent may send their 17-year-old child to run some errands for them. If the child is driving the family car and negligently crashes into another vehicle and injures someone, the parent is likely to be held liable for the injuries. Parents can also be held responsible for injuries or damages their children cause intentionally.

Vicarious Liability for Alcohol Vendors

Known as the dram shop law, Texas imposes vicarious liability on alcohol vendors and suppliers. The law allows alcohol providers to be held responsible for injuries a victim sustains in a DUI accident due to over-serving the driver at the establishment.

Vicarious liability cases can be complex to handle, especially in proving liability. Working with experienced Mesquite personal injury lawyers gives you a more favorable outcome when pursuing the settlement amount you deserve from the liable third party.

How Does Vicarious Liability Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

If someone causes an accident in which you sustain injuries, it’s essential to understand whether and how vicarious liability may apply to your case. This understanding is crucial in helping you fight for the total compensation you deserve based on the damages. The defendant responsible for your injuries may not have enough liability insurance to compensate you.

A vicarious liability lawsuit may give you better chances of recovering your medical expenses, property losses, and other damages. Compassionate lawyers from a civil litigation law firm in Mesquite can help you identify multiple parties in your personal injury case who could be liable for your injuries to give you an additional source of financial recovery.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Providing Legal Counsel for Vicarious Liability Lawsuits

Vicarious liability enables you to recover compensation for your injuries from a principal if their agent is responsible for the damages. However, several intricacies are involved in determining the parties to hold liable, so you should hire experienced Mesquite personal injury lawyers to help you evaluate your options.

The Oberg Law Office is a civil litigation law firm in Mesquite. We host dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys you can count on to get the assertive legal representation you need to fight for the value your case is worth. Contact us at 972-682-9700 to request a FREE strategy session.

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