Vicarious Liability


Vicarious liability is the liability of one person for the conduct of another person. Vicarious liability is the liability of a superior for the conduct of a subordinate. Thus, vicarious liability is the liability of one person usually a subordinate such as the liability of an employer for the conduct of an employee in the course of employment.

Vicarious liability is a liability of one person for the acts and omissions of another person. Because of the relationship that exists between them usually that of master and servant, principal and agent, employer and contractor, superior and subordinate etc. It is a situation where one person is liable for the conduct, or tort of another person, because of a relationship exiting between him and the wrongdoer.

Vicarious liability is the responsibility of a master for the primary liability established against his servant, agent or subordinate for a tort, committed by such a subordinate in the course of employment.

In instance of vicarious liability, a master is said to be jointly and severally liable with the subordinate for the wrongful act of the subordinate.

Relationship That Produce Vicarious Liability

Diverse kinds of relationship may produce vicarious liability. However, the types of relationship where vicarious liability commonly arise include; Master and servant, otherwise known as employer and employee relationship including borrowing a servant. The second one is employer and independent contractor and casual agency, that is casual delegation.

Reason Why a Superior Should Answer For An Inferior.

Nevertheless, the directive of Vicarious liability appears unfair and runs contrary to the principles of liability in toot which that; a person is only liable for the loss or damages resulting from his own acts and omission and a person should only be liable when he is at fault.

But, the doctrine of vicarious liability is a convenient and a justified way of handling the lost of a servant, committed in the course of employment. The vicarious liability as essentially a liability based on social policy, that a superior should be liable for foots committed by a servant in the master’s business, that is, in the course of employment. Some of the reasons why the superior or master should answer for the test of the servant are; the superior established, ordered or ratified the business activity in which the tort was committed. Secondly the profit or benefit of the business, assignment, activity or act, usually goes to the superior and he generally exercises control over his employee.

Thirdly he dictates the directions of the business or assignment. Fourthly, he chooses and appoints the employs or agents and he out to compensate the victim of the tort of his employee or agent.

Again, a company or business acts through its employees. The employee is identified with the Employer Company or group. The act of the employer act through the servants.

Therefore, the employer should be responsible for the act of the servant based on the principles of low that ‘he who does anything through another does it himself another does it himself.

More so, the superior has greater ability to pay damages for the tort of the servant, and often the superior has visible or tangible property on which execution can be levied in satisfaction of a judgment debit owed to the plaintiff. The principle of vicarious liability is to encourage an employer to ensure proper management and supervision of his employees.

However, in order not to suffer much loss in the area of vicarious liability and hamper economic activities, it is advisable for an employer to insure against acts which may be committed by a servant in the course of employment. Then the cost of insurance is put on the goods and services which he offers to the public. In this way, the effect of any loss is spread over a large section of the community and the employer to enable to pay damages without difficulty and the victim of the tort is satisfied.