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How vicarious liability works

In some negligence cases in Georgia, the responsibility for an injury or accident may be laid not on an individual but on a party that was not directly involved in the incident. This is called vicarious liability. This concept is often used to ensure that victims are compensated by a financially stable and adequately insured party.

For example, if an employee driving a company van causes a crash, the victim may choose to sue the employer rather than the driver since the employer is more likely to be financially secure. The employer would be accountable because the employee's negligence could have been the result of inadequate training, poor employee screening or some other failure to consider the safety of others. Vicarious liability is often used in slip-and-fall cases as well.

There is another rule of fault, though, called strict liability. According to this rule, some cases do not depend on any actual negligence or carelessness on the defendant's part to be considered.

For instance, those who are injured by a defective product or by some inherently dangerous activity, such as the shipping of toxic materials or the keeping of a dangerous pet on a property, can sue without needing to prove negligence. The strict liability rule can thus give companies a good reason to ensure that their products are safe for the public.

Those who are hurt on an unsafe property may have a cause of action against the owner of the premises if it was, or should have been, aware of the dangerous condition but took insufficient steps to correct it. Injured victims might find it advisable to have the assistance of an attorney throughout the process.

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