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Third Party Responsibility in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor-Vehicle-AccidentsIn an earlier blog, we looked at a couple of situations where a person not driving a motor vehicle could be found liable for injuries suffered in a crash involving that vehicle: where the driver was in the course of employment at the time of the crash (imposing potential liability on the employer) and where the driver of the car causing the accident was merely borrowing the car (imposing potential liability on the owner of the car).

There are a number of other situations where a third party—someone other than the drivers of the respective vehicles—can be found liable for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident:

  • Where the driver is a minor—There are two legal theories under which parents may be held liable for injuries suffered in accidents caused by their minor children—negligent entrustment and vicarious liability. To recover under a theory of negligent entrustment, you must show that the parents knew or should have known of the child’s history of negligence or carelessness behind the wheel and let the child drive the family car anyway. Under a theory of vicarious liability, a parent who sends a child on an errand can be found responsible for injuries caused in an accident that occurs on that errand.
  • Where the accident was caused by a product failure—Under the law of product liability, anyone in the distribution chain may be found liable when injuries are caused by a dangerous or defective product. That includes the designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler or retailer.
  • Where the accident was caused by a drunk driver—Dram shop and social host liability laws allow you to bring a personal injury claim against the person or establishment that served the alcohol.
  • Where the accident resulted from a roadway defect—A municipality may have liability if the accident was caused by a pothole, uneven roadway, missing sign or poorly designed curve or stretch of road.

Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper

To learn your options after a car accident during work hours, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.

We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.