Vicarious Liability (Liability for the Torts of Others)


Welcome to Lawshelf’s video-course on vicarious liability. This course looks at the circumstances under which one person (or organization) can be held liable for the actions of another. This is an intermediate-level course, and some understanding of basic tort law, including the rules or intentional torts and negligence, is recommended.

The primary and most commonly used theory of vicarious liability is that of the employer’s liability for torts committed by an employee. As such, our first two modules are devoted to that. We will illustrate when the employer-employee relationship exists and when an employer can be held liable for the actions of an independent contractor.

Next, we will turn to vicarious liability in other contexts, such as government liability for actions of its agents. We will look at sovereign immunity and when that protects federal and state governments from liability. Then, we will look at hospitals’ liability for injuries to patients and that of religious institutions for actions of clergy.

A slightly different type of vicarious liability involves bar owners’ liability for actions of drunk patrons. We will discuss “dramshop” laws that impose responsibilities on bar and restaurant owners that serve alcohol.

In module 4, we turn to liability of parents for children’s torts and crimes and look to the related area of people’s liability for injuries caused by their cars when driven by a child, relative or friend. Finally, module 4 looks at a “bailor’s” liability, wherein someone’s property (also often a car) causes injury when it’s operated by a valet, borrower or renter.  

Finally, we will spend our last module on defenses against civil actions for vicarious liability, including contributory negligence and assumption of risk. We will also briefly look at the types of civil damages available in vicarious liability cases.

This course provides an overview of tort law as it relates to liability for actions of others, which is an important aspect of personal injury law and the basis of so much of tort law as practiced today.

Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.






Vicarious Liability in the Employer-Employee Relationship- Module 1 of 5


Vicarious Liability For Damages Committed By Independent Contractors- Module 2 of 5


Vicarious Liability in Specific Contexts- Module 3 of 5


Vicarious Liability in Private Contexts- Module 4 of 5


Defenses and Damages- Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.