Liability for Negligent Entrustment of Your Vehicle
Though most motor vehicle accident lawsuits seek compensation from the at-fault driver, there are situations where a person may have liability without being behind the wheel. Some of the more common situations include:
- Accidents caused by an employee in the course of their duties (the employer may be liable)
- Accidents caused by inexperienced teenagers (the parents may be liable)
- Accidents resulting from product defects in a motor vehicle (the designer, manufacturer or seller may be liable)
There’s also a legal concept known as “negligent entrustment,” which can make the owner of a motor vehicle legally responsible for accidents caused by someone who borrows the car. Under this theory, if you allow an incompetent, reckless, or unfit driver to operate your motor vehicle, and the person causes a wreck, you might be liable. The injured party must demonstrate to the court that you either knew, or should have known, that you were loaning your car to an incompetent driver.
When Is a Driver Deemed Incompetent, Reckless, or Unfit to Operate a Motor Vehicle?
There are a wide range of situations where a jury might find that you negligently entrusted your vehicle to another person:
- Where you knew or should have known the person was impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Where you knew or should have known the person lacked the requisite skills to competently drive a car; for example, the at-fault driver was underage, had no driver’s license, had no instruction in operating a motor vehicle, or was driving with only a learner’s permit
- Where you knew the person lacked requisite skills because of advanced age or health issues
- Where you knew the person had some type of illness or injury that could prevent the safe operation of a vehicle
- Where you knew the driver had a prior history of reckless driving
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a motor vehicle accident, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, or videoconference.
We handle all motor vehicle accident injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.