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Vicarious liability can add new meaning to the term “special relationship” and cause the accused party to feel anything but special. These special relationships can exist between husbands and wives, and parents and children. In a business setting, vicarious liability typically occurs within the construct of an employer-employee relationship.

The legal theory supporting vicarious liability is that the employer is responsible for the actions of employees who are carrying out their assigned duties—and as always, the court will not accept ignorance as an excuse. The employer is also responsible for carrying out background checks. Examples include a security guard who exerts excessive force while policing a facility, a parking attendant who injures a customer while driving at an unsafe speed and a warehouse worker who injures a fellow employee while recklessly using equipment on which he hasn’t been properly trained.

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