The paper "Understanding Frolic and Detour in Relation to Vicarious Liability" is an outstanding example of an essay on law. In law, even though a corporation is recognized as a legal person, it has no ability to act on its own. As such, a corporation can carry out its functions through an employee or an agent. Therefore, it is paramount to understand the law of vicarious liability so as to have a better grasp of frolic and detour when holding a company liable for the torts committed by its employees or agent.
Vicarious liability is a doctrine in the common law of tort and contract. About corporations, the doctrine is based on an employment relationship whereby one person knew another to do the acts of the former in an employee-employer relationship. The vicarious liability doctrine is based on a Latin doctrine known as Respondeat superior that simply translates as let the master answer. The Latin doctrines hold that the employer in most cases should be answerable for the tortious actions of the employee that have been committed in the ambit of their employment. Therefore, about tort litigation of corporations, vicarious liability is used to hold the corporation liable to tortious claims of its employees (Heroux, 2012).
The basis of vicarious liability is based on theories of economics and partly law that assert that when a tortious claim arises against a corporation, the best-suited person to bear the cost is the principal or the corporation since it is viewed to be in better financial standing to cover the claim. Also, the employee is seen in law to be under the control and will of the employer and as such anything is done by the employee is to benefit the employer. The control aspect in an employee-employer relationship is used to justify vicarious liability since the employer is held to be in a position to control the affairs of the employee and failure to do so should attract liability. However, vicarious liability is a general doctrine in law and as such it has exceptions to the generality and its limitation. The exceptions include the frolic and detour (Lunney & Oliphant, 2013).
Frolic is a permanent abandonment of an employee from their course of employment. For instance where an employee abandons their normal employment to go and catch a baseball match in a city stadium with a company truck and along the way hits a pedestrian. On the other hand, a detour is a partial abandonment of an employee from their course of employment. For instance where an employee uses a route rather than the prescribed route to delivery company merchandise and along the way hits a pedestrian. In law, an employee engaged in a frolic will be liable for any tortious claim arising during the subsistence of the frolic. In relation to detour, the court has held in the case of Joel vs. Morisson where a servant is on a master’s duty but takes a detour to check on a friend, the master will be held liable. However, this is not where the servant is on a frolic of his own in which case the liability of the master will not arise. However, the court may hold an employee who is engaged in a frolic and detour personally responsible for any tortious claim committed by them (Miller & Hollowell, 2011).
The purpose of understanding frolic and detour is to understand the exceptions when the actions of the employee will not arise in liability to the corporation. In determining whether an employee is involved in a frolic and detour the court is guided by a variety of questions that aim at finding out whether the conduct of the employee at the time of the tot was similar or incident to what they were hired to do. As such it is important for the employee to stick to the course of employment in an employment relationship to keep the employee and employer out of court more frequently.