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Koala232

Vicarious Liability -Babysitting while driving

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I'm about to start babysitting for a family and one of the requirements is to drive the children to certain things in the surrounding area. I will be using my car with my own auto insurance. If I get into an accident with the kids in the car, whether it is my fault or not (god forbid), would the parents have grounds to sue me? Would a contract releasing me of liability while driving do anything? Or would I be covered by this vicarious liability I hear of. Where the employer (in this case parents) are liable for my actions while working for them (being with their kids). Thank you!

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I'm about to start babysitting for a family and one of the requirements is to drive the children to certain things in the surrounding area. I will be using my car with my own auto insurance. If I get into an accident with the kids in the car, whether it is my fault or not (god forbid), would the parents have grounds to sue me?

 

Hell, yes. And they would do it in a heartbeat.

 

 

Or would I be covered by this vicarious liability I hear of.

 

You could be, if you bought the right insurance. You'd basically be in the public livery business: transporting passengers for hire. Your regular auto insurance excludes that and you'll have some serious liability issues.

 

 

 Where the employer (in this case parents) are liable for my actions while working for them (being with their kids). Thank you!

 

No. You are not their employee. You are performing services for them, and others, as an independent contractor.

 

You will also have a great deal of liability while the children are in your house (day care).

 

DO NOT START this without getting the property day care business insurance and commercial auto insurance.

 

Since you won't be able to afford those prices, don't do it at all.

 

A kid gets injured while in your care and your financial life goes down the toilet real fast.

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Would a contract releasing me of liability while driving do anything? Or would I be covered by this vicarious liability I hear of. Where the employer (in this case parents) are liable for my actions while working for them (being with their kids). Thank you!

 

This is not a situation involving vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means that a person is liable for the negligence of another person. The classic example of this is where an employer is liable to a person who is injured by an employee while acting within the scope of his/her employment. So, if Fred Flintstone negligently injured Barney Rubble while driving his dinosaur in the course of work for Bedrock Mining Company, Fred would have direct liability to Barney for the injury he caused and Bedrock Mining would also be vicariously liable to Barney. Bedrock's vicarious liability does not get Fred off the hook for his negligence.

 

As this relates to you, if you negligently injure the kids while driving, you are liable to the kids for the injuries you cause. Their parents, as your employer, may also be liable under vicarious liability. That doesn’t help you at all; in the end, you still pay for the the injuries the kids suffer in the accident.

 

As for a contract releasing you from liability, that's likely to be ineffective. The kids, as minors, are not bound by contracts signed by their parents and the kids themselves can disaffirm any contract they make while they are minors.

 

For these reasons, make sure you have the right insurance to cover what you are doing. Your standard personal auto policy won't cover driving for business. So get a policy that will cover this.

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If I get into an accident with the kids in the car, whether it is my fault or not (god forbid), would the parents have grounds to sue me?

 

The purpose of the lawsuit would be to determine whether or not you were at fault.  If there is reason to think you might be at fault and your insurance didn't cover the injuries, then there would be reason to sue you.

 

 

 

Would a contract releasing me of liability while driving do anything?

 

Maybe.  Depends on what it says and the applicable state law and the relevant facts and circumstances.

 

 

 

Or would I be covered by this vicarious liability I hear of. Where the employer (in this case parents) are liable for my actions while working for them (being with their kids).

 

In simplest terms, vicarious liability means that Person A is liable to Person B for Person C's negligence even though Person A was not him/herself negligent.  It has nothing to do with the situation about which you're asking.

 

I strongly suggest you contact the company that issued your auto insurance policy and discuss what you're thinking of doing.  Once you've done that, you may want to reconsider what you're being asked to do and/or the price you're charging to do it.

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Hi Koala232,

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting! The legal concept of vicarious liability would apply if, for example, you loaned your car to a friend (knowing that your friend is a bad driver) and the friend caused an accident or injury. In this situation (which sounds a little bit different from yours) you might be vicariously liable for your friend's accident.

 

As other posters have mentioned, before working as a babysitter driving minor children, you should ensure that you are adequately protected in the event of an accident. Consider speaking with your insurance carrier about your liability coverage, and the possibility of obtaining umbrella coverage or babysitting insurance.

 

Best of luck and let us know if you have additional questions!

The FindLaw.com Team

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The legal concept of vicarious liability would apply if, for example, you loaned your car to a friend (knowing that your friend is a bad driver) and the friend caused an accident or injury. In this situation (which sounds a little bit different from yours) you might be vicariously liable for your friend's accident.

 

I disagree that this example is one of vicarious liability. Rather, it is a case of suing the owner for his own negligence in allowing someone he knew to be a bad driver drive his car.

 

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