Vicarious Liability Definition

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Vicarious liability As a general rule vicarious liability only arises out of the employer/employee relationship, although it can be found in the principal/agent relationship and as an exceptional case in the employer/independent contractor relationship. Vicarious liability is not a tort, it is a concept which is used to impose strict liability on a person who does not have primary liability, i.e. is not at fault. Literally, it means that one person is liable for the torts of another.. This is liability only arises while the employee is acting within the course of his or her employment. The concept has found favor with the court and plaintiffs alike, because, realistically, the employer is likely to have the money to pay for any claim for…show more content…
This stage is important because the employer will only be liable if the employee is ‘acting within the course of his employment’ when the tort is committed. It is, therefore, essential to consider what is meant by this in law. If the employee is outside the scope of his or her employment, the injured person has no choice but to sue the employee who may not be in a financial position to pay…show more content…
Once again there is no set criteria for judging this issue; it remains a question of fact in each case, based on the nature of the job and the actions of the employee. The standard is laid down in Hilton v Thomas Burton (Rhods) Ltd (1961). Four workmen were allowed to use their employer’s ban as they were working on a demolition site in the country. At lunchtime they decided to go to a café some seven mails away. Before reaching the café they changed their minds and set off return to the site. On the return journey, one of them was killed through the negligent driving of the van’s driver. It was held that the employer was no vicariously liable. By travelling such a distance to take a break, they were no longer doing something incidental to their main employment; nor were they doing anything for the purpose of their employer’s business. As far as the court was concerned they were ‘on a frolic of their

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