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Bus accidents and vicarious liability

While buses are convenient modes of transportation for individuals in Seattle and other cities across the nation, they are also a source of many risks and dangers on the roadways. These vehicles transport a large number of passengers at one time, putting many lives at risk in the event of a bus crash. A bus driver is required to meet a certain standard of care while operating a bus in the line of work. Failure to do so places liability on them in the event of an accident.

Through the theory of vicarious liability, liability for an accident can be shared. For example, when one party is responsible or has control for a third party, and that party is negligent in carrying out that responsibility and exercising control, it is possible for both parties to face liability. In cases of employer and employee relationship, an employer might be held liable if an employee operates equipment or machinery, operating in a negligent or inappropriate way that results in personal injury or property damage.

Although it is not the employer that caused the accident, in the event of a bus accident, the bus driver's employer could be held liable through vicarious liability. This is because their employer is considered to be responsible for its employees' actions while they are on the job. Vicarious liability also exists because employers are considered to be able to prevent or limit any harmful acts caused by their employees. However, employers could avoid vicarious liability by taking the time to exercise reasonable care to prevent any unlawful behavior.

Because vicarious liability could exist, it is important that bus accident victims consider the possibility of additionally liable parties following the incident. Through a personal injury action, victims could place liability on one or more negligent parties, helping them also recover compensation for their damages and losses.

Source: Investopedia.com, "Vicarious Liability," accessed March 25, 2018

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