A legal theory where one person is held liable for the acts of another. Vicarious liability can arise in a number of instances, depending on local law. Here are a few common grounds for vicarious liability:
- Partners in a general partnership (or general partners in a limited partnership) are vicariously liable for the torts of their partners if committed in furtherance of the partnership. (This is one reason why law firms and accounting firms like to organize themselves as limited liability partnerships, which remove this problem as to malpractice.)
- Owners of motor vehicles are vicariously liable for any injuries arising when someone else uses the car with the owner's permission.
- Joint owners of real estate are vicariously liable for injuries incurred on the property, regardless of whether they are actually in possession of the property or just holding its title from a distance.
- Principals are liable for the torts of their agents when committed in furtherance of an agency relationship.
- Employers are responsible for the torts of their employees committed within the scope of their employment (this is also known as respondeat superior).
Vicarious liability also comes up in other contexts, such as vicarious infringement
of intellectual property