Third party liability, also commonly referred to as vicarious liability, is a tort doctrine that imposes liability on a person for someone else’s actions. It imputes the wrongful conduct of a tortfeasor (the one who caused the accident and or injury) to a third party who is considered to be responsible for the tortfeasor’s actions. The third party liability arises out of a special relationship commonly referred to as the principal-agent (example: employer-employee, parent-children, joint venture). Read on to learn more about Pennsylvania vicarious liability laws and how our auto accident attorneys can help you file a personal injury claim against the liable party (tortfeasor) for your injury.
Auto Accident Vicarious Liability
A person can be responsible for a car accident injury even if he/she was not in the car under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability. For example, if an employee runs a red light and hits another car while driving the company vehicle during work hours, the employer may be responsible for damages caused by the employee’s negligent conduct. The key here is to look at the relationship the parties has between each other to see if an principal-agent relationship exist. If it is present, the principal can be held liable for the acts of his/her agent.
Sue asked her parents to drive their brand new Porsche to prom. Her parents agreed. Sue picked up her friend Jane on the way to prom. As Sue was entering the freeway, she loss control of the vehicle and struck the car beside her. Jane suffered injuries as well as the other driver. The driver and Jane both sued Sue’s parents for damages as a result of Sue’s negligence under the doctrine of vicarious liability.
Personal Injury Vicarious Liability
Personal injury vicarious liability claims usually arise in parent-child relationship scenarios. Under common law, parents are not usually liable for their child’s torts due to the parent-child relationship. Under Pennsylvania personal injury law liability usually arises under the following circumstances:
- The child’s negligent actions were committed during the scope of employment while working for his/her parent;
- The child’s negligent actions were committed during a joint venture with his/her parents;
- The child’s negligent actions were committed as the parent’s agent while carrying out a mission on their behalf; or
- The child negligently drove his/her parent’s automobile with their consent.
If one of the above scenarios occur, the plaintiff can file suit against the child and parents.
Workers’ Compensation Vicarious Liability
An employer may be responsible for their employees injury under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior means “let the master answer.” Under this legal doctrine, an employer is held responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of employment.
Curtis is assigned to operate a forklift during his late night shift at the local sporting goods warehouse. Curtis accidentally runs over Berkley’s foot with the forklift while backing up to pick up a haul of boxes. Berkley can file a workers’ compensation claim against her employer who can be held vicariously liable for the injury.
Joseph works for a local delivery company. His boss Curtis asked him to deliver a truck full of hazardous material to a local government agency for processing. While driving to the agency, Joseph makes a stop to fill up the truck with gasoline. He is struck by Vivian’s car when crossing the parking lot. He suffers a broken arm and bruised ribs. Joseph can file a claim against his employer because he was hurt during the scope of his employment.
Contact A Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer
Contact our experienced PA car accident lawyers as they are very familiar with Pennsylvania third party liability laws. They offer free consultations regarding Pennsylvania motor vehicle accident claims and charge no fee unless they recover for you. Our team of accident attorneys will gather facts regarding your case and provide you with guidance on how to best proceed.