In many personal injury claims, there is a singular defendant being sued for causing an accident that injured or killed the plaintiff (the victim in the accident). However, because of the dynamics of many relationships, whether employer-employee or even parent-child, New York does uphold vicarious liability statutes. In short, vicarious liability can have numerous impacts on your personal injury claim as it better illuminates the actual liable individuals in your case.
At its core, vicarious liability essentially means that one person could be held liable for the actions of another person. For instance, if an employee caused an accident, it may be the employer or the employer’s insurance which has the resources to properly compensate an injured individual. To ensure the maximum potential of your personal injury lawsuit, and to make sure that the lawsuit identifies the necessary individuals, you need to call the NYC personal injury attorneys at Manhattan’s Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier law firm ASAP.
For a free consultation, call now at (212) 777-9400.
Vicarious Liability and Parental Responsibility in New York City
Back in 2010, there was a viral story regarding a 4-year-old bicyclist (with training wheels) who struck an 87-year-old woman. The woman fell, broke her hip, and died a few weeks later. The essence of this story was that both the mother and the child were sued. A Manhattan judge later ruled that the child was too young to be sued.
Although this is an atypical situation, it does showcase vicarious liability and how it relates to parental responsibility in a NYC personal injury lawsuit. Parents are always responsible for their children, but through vicarious liability, whether or not the parents are civilly liable for the acts of their children is another question. In general, however, parents can be liable for their children’s actions when the parents own negligence or failure to act appropriately contributed to the injury caused by the child.
Some examples of vicarious liability and parental responsibility can include:
- The parents failed to supervise or restrain the child from conduct that would endanger others, and the child’s actions injured someone else.
- The parent and the child had a “master and servent” relationship, and the child was acting under the scope of the parent’s authority.
- The parent is guilty of negligent entrustment of an instrument that’s unreasonably dangerous in the hands of a child, such as a gun or another weapon.
- The parent approved of or consented to the child’s behavior that led to someone else getting injured.
As you can see by these examples, the parent usually plays a direct or indirect role in the child’s behavior that led to someone getting injured. Nevertheless, the parent is involved and the victim’s injuries could have been avoided if the parent was a little less negligent regarding the child’s actions.
Vicarious Liability and Employers
Vicarious liability can be quite rare when a parent and a child are involved, but this sort of liability does occur in New York City. However, one of the more common instances of vicarious liability involves an employer-employee relationship, whereas the employer is liable for the employee’s actions.
According to the Respondent Superior law in New York, the employer is liable when the employee’s negligent or intentional actions are committed within the scope of the employee’s employment. Also, the conduct that injured the other person must have been generally foreseeable and a natural consequence of the employment. To hold the employer liable, all of the following factors must be present:
- The injury occurred while the employee was working for his/her employer, and
- The injury was caused by something the employee would ordinarily do while working for the employer, and
- The employer benefited in some way from whatever the employee was doing that caused the injury (the benefit can be very small or indirect).
Proving these three elements can be quite complicated, and in most cases, the respondent superior rule doesn’t apply to independent contractors.
Vicarious Liability, Hospitals, and Medical Malpractice
Vicarious liability in medical malpractice cases operates quite similar to the respondent superior law for employee-employer relationships. For instance, the doctor might not be the only liable individual in a malpractice suit, as the hospital that retained the doctor can be held vicariously liable. Since many normal activities within the doctor’s scope include things such as treating patients or performing surgery, the hospital can be vicariously liable for any injuries caused by the doctors in the normal course of treatment or surgery.
Call NYC’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier
At Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier, our personal injury attorneys specialize in many the nuances of New York personal injury law, including car accidents. After taking on your case, we’ll thoroughly and diligently investigate the circumstances of your claim to determine all of the responsible parties who may be liable to compensate the injury victim. For expert legal help in getting you the maximum compensation for your injuries, call the NYC personal injury lawyers at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today. Free consultations are available, so call now at (212) 777-9400.