Vicarious liability implies that you can be held responsible for another person’s mistakes.
As a small business owner, you can be held responsible for mistakes made by your employees, contractors and agents acting on behalf of you or your company — if they are working within the scope of your normal operations.
If that happens, some types of business insurance include vicarious liability coverage that can help with related expenses.
Vicarious liability is a legal term that implies that you can be held financially responsible for another person’s mistakes.
“Vicarious liability insurance” refers to different types of insurance — such as general liability or professional liability — that can protect small business owners from vicarious liability losses.
Vicarious liability may be covered in a liability insurance policy if you are found liable for the actions, mistakes, negligence or omissions of another person working for you business, such as:
Business insurance providers don’t typically sell coverage known by name as “vicarious liability insurance.”
Business insurance packages often include different “policies” (a.k.a types of coverage) that protect against different risks. Depending on your operations, these types of business insurance can potentially safeguard you from vicarious liabilities:
Vicarious liability risks are common for many different types of small businesses.
This is because employees, partners and volunteers often engage in a wide range of potentially risky activities. Here are a few examples to consider:
Other scenarios involving vicarious liability include harassment, discrimination, personal injuries, slander or libel and copyright infringement.
Vicarious liability insurance can help to protect businesses from a variety of claims. That’s why it’s crucial to understand potential vicarious liability risks at your business.
Mistakes can happen anytime, and your risk can increase as you work with more people. For example:
Employees: If an employee is performing tasks within the scope of their professional duties, you could be held liable for the damage their actions cause — even if they act against your directions.
Partners: The partnership could be vicariously liable for injury or damages caused by a partner.
Directors and officers: Directors and officers act on behalf of the corporation. Therefore, the corporation can be held responsible for the directors’ and officers’ wrongdoings.
There is no way to prevent every possibility of a claim being filed. However, you can decrease the likelihood of an incident by providing a safe workplace and training employees.
Consider taking steps to:
Business insurance can help protect you from paying entirely out of pocket if your business is named in a vicarious liability lawsuit.
Your coverage will vary depending on your operations and exposure to risks.
For example, if you operate a retail store or restaurant, you might be concerned about sexual harassment claims brought against you by employees or customers. But if you own a manufacturing plant, you may be worried about product liability claims.
Many businesses utilize these types of business insurance for vicarious liability protection:
General liability can provide protection for lawsuits involving damage to property that doesn’t belong to your business and injuries to people who are not your employees.
Professional liability insurance can protect you and your business if someone makes a mistake while providing professional services on behalf of your business.
EPLI can help cover costs if your business is sued by a customer or an employee for sexual harassment, discrimination or wrongful termination. NEXT customers can purchase this coverage as an add-on to their general liability insurance
Liquor liability insurance can help protect businesses that sell and serve alcohol. It’s designed to help cover losses resulting from intoxicated guests who cause an injury or property damage after they are served alcohol.
NEXT is a one-stop shop for small business insurance.
We offer a streamlined and simple way to find the coverage you need online. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to get a quote, review your options and purchase the insurance package that is right for you.
Our licensed, U.S.-based agents are standing by to support you if you need help.
Business insurance is divided into different policies. We offer seven types so it's easy to design the coverage that fits your business.