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What is 'vicarious liability' in Georgia?

This blog has discussed the fact that accidents involving commercial vehicles often have serious and sometimes devastating consequences. Because of the sizes and weight of many of these vehicles, the injuries they can cause tend to be even worse than those in other crashes. Whether a bus full of people, or a truck carrying heavy cargo, commercial vehicle accidents can wreak havoc on the lives of anyone involved in or even near them.

When a vehicle is traveling for the purposes of doing business, and it is involved in an accident, there are a few issues that need to be considered by those who may have been injured. One of these is whether the driver of the commercial vehicle was negligent in causing the accident. If he or she was, the injured party may have legal recourse to receive damages for injuries suffered. It may be, however, that the driver is not the only one legally responsible.

The concept of 'vicarious liability' is one that has been a part of the American legal system for some time. Under this concept, a party may be liable due to the negligent actions of someone else. It is often used in the context of employers being liable for their employees' negligence. The idea of 'respondeat superior,' for example, holds that employers are liable for the actions of their employees when those actions occurred during the scope of their employment. There are other potential vicarious liability situations as well, such as negligent hiring, or negligent maintenance, where a company may be held liable for the negligence of those who work there.

These are important concepts for Georgia accident victims, because it may well be that their injuries cannot be fully compensated by the driver at fault, especially if the injuries are serious, as they often are in commercial vehicle accidents. Having a corporate entity that may be liable can sometimes go a long way to enabling a victim to get adequate compensation.

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