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What Is Vicarious Liability?

In most cases, New Orleans personal injury attorneys proceed directly against the person that caused the injury to a client. There are situations, however, where the law holds a third party responsible for that person’s actions, even though that third party did nothing to directly cause the injury. This is referred to as vicarious liability.

Vicarious liability does not hold a person liable because he or she personally committed a negligent or intentional act that led to injury. Instead, that party is held responsible by law because he or she had a legally significant relationship with the person who actually caused the injury. The primary types of vicarious liability in Louisiana are an employer’s vicarious liability for damages caused by an employee in the course and scope of employment, and a parent’s liability for the acts of an unemancipated minor child.

Louisiana Civil Code article 2320 sets forth the general provisions under which an employer may be held liable for the acts of an employee. Generally, it provides that employers are answerable for the damage occasioned by employees in the exercise of the functions in which they are employed. Vicarious liability only attaches, however, when the employer might have prevented the act that caused the damage and did not do so.

The vicarious liability of parents for a minor child is set forth in Louisiana Civil Code article 2318. It provides that unless a minor has been emancipated either through a legal judgment or marriage, the parents are responsible for any damages caused by a minor child. This applies even if the child has been placed by them under the care of another person and does not reside with them, although the parents do reserve the right to proceed against the party caring for the minor.

If you have suffered a personal injury and have any questions regarding who should be held responsible, we would be happy to help you. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.