What is Vicarious Liability?
Posted on 11th June 2019
Vicarious Liability is the principle that means employers can be held responsible for their employees negligence, that is, if that action occurred during the course of their employment or was sufficiently linked to their employment.
This concept has recently been reviewed in the case of Shelbourne v Cancer Research 2019. This case reviewed the boundaries of Vicarious Liability because it took place at a Christmas Party. The Claimant was an employee of the Defendant. The Defendant hosted a Christmas party which the Claimant attended whereupon she was lifted into the air by a visiting scientist and dropped when the visiting scientist (whom the Claimant was working with at the time) lost his balance and dropped her. The Claimant suffered back injuries. This is where your Personal Injury Solicitors are asked whether or not there was negligence.
Well, the Defendant had conducted a risk assessment prior to the party and the Claimant’s case failed, as the Defendant had even undertaken reasonable steps to ensure that the guests attending the party were safe. So, the case then turned to whether or not the Defendant could be held accountable for the actions of the visiting scientist.
Although he was not directly employed by the Defendant, the visiting scientist’s work was sufficiently integral to the defendant’s business for the defendant potentially to be held vicariously liable for his actions.
However, in making his decision, the High Court’s Mr Justice Lane referred to the judgement made in an earlier case in which the Claimant was assaulted by the Defendant’s Managing Director at a function (Bellman .v. Northampton Recruitment Ltd.). In that case, the court held that the Managing Director had acted within his managerial remit. Mr Justice Lane contrasted this position with that of the visiting scientist and his research activities for the defendant, concluding that the incident leading to the Claimant’s injury during the party was not sufficiently connected with his field of work as to give rise to vicarious liability on behalf of Cancer Research UK.
Personal Injury Law can often turn directly on the facts of an individual case. MG Legal, Personal Injury Solicitors Preston have the experience to consider your individual case in order to advise and guide you in the complexities of this area of law.
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