Can one person be held responsible for the wrongdoing of another? Usually no, but it depends. Some situations justify holding a person responsible for the act of another. For example, an employer will be held responsible for the wrongdoing of an employee that occurs while in the course and scope of employment. And, a landowner can sometimes be held responsible for the acts of a third person which injure someone coming on his property. 

Holding one person responsible for the wrongdoing of another is referred to as vicarious liability.

Vicarious liability can sometimes be imposed on:

  • parents for injuries caused by the intentional acts of their child;
  • a car owner for injuries caused by one driving a car with the owner’s permission;
  • an insurance company for negligence of an insured driver;
  • a person who entrusts a dangerous instrumentality to an improper person who causes harm.

But vicarious liability will generally not be imposed on:

  • parents for acts of their child that are merely negligent, except by statute in special situationst;
  • one spouse for the wrongdoings of the other;
  • a landlord for the wrongdoings of a tenant.