The common-law doctrine of RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR holds an employer liable for the negligent acts of its employee. Generally, under COMMON LAW, the hiring party is not responsible for the NEGLIGENCE of an independent contractor. The Restatement (Second) of Torts identifies a few exceptions to this rule. The hiring party may be liable when, owing to its failure to exercise reasonable care to retain a competent and careful contractor, a third party is physically harmed. Also, when an independent contractor acts pursuant to orders or directions negligently given by the hiring party, the latter may be held liable. Notwithstanding the exceptions, the hiring party's risk of liability is greatly reduced by hiring independent contractors rather than employees.
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