Vicarious Liability (Liability for the Torts of Others)

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.





What is a video-course?

A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

Who should take a video-course?

Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

How do I learn?

Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?

No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.

Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

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.