Vicarious liability refers to the liability of a person or entity for another person’s wrongful actions. In a Maryland truck accident case, a person or entity may be liable for an employee’s actions or another individual in some circumstances. The person or entity being held responsible may be liable based on the relationship between the person or entity and the person who acted wrongfully. Vicarious liability does not require wrongdoing on the part of the defendant and is based only on the relationship between the defendant and the wrongful actor.
Vicarious liability often arises in the context of an employer being sued for an employee’s negligent acts. An employer might be liable based on the employer-employee relationship if the employee who acted wrongfully was acting within the scope of the employee’s employment. Vicarious liability is based on the idea that the employer hired the employee and is responsible for the employee’s actions carried out in furtherance of the employer’s business and authorized by the employer. In some cases, an employer may be liable even where the employee is personally immune from suit.
Generally, whether an employee was acting within the scope of the employee’s employment is one for the jury. Many lawsuits have been filed alleging that an employer is liable for an employee’s actions while driving to or from work. In general, Maryland courts have held that employers are not liable for negligent conduct while an employee is traveling to or from work, absent special circumstances. In some cases, there is a dispute about whether a wrongful actor was an employee or an independent contractor. In determining whether an employer-employee relationship existed, courts may consider how the worker was selected, how wages were paid, the employer’s ability to fire the person, the employer’s ability to control the person’s conduct, and whether the work was part of the employer’s regular business.