DEFINITION of 'Secondary Liability'
A type of legal obligation where one party assumes legal responsibility for the actions of another party. There are essentially two types of secondary liability: vicarious liability and contributory liability.
BREAKING DOWN 'Secondary Liability'
Vicarious liability exists under the doctrine of agency under common law. It covers the responsibilities of superiors for the actions of their agents or employees. Contributory liability comes from tort theory and holds the third party liable if they are aware of or supported the primary act.