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Usera & Snow, P. C.

What is negligent entrustment?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

What if you are injured in a car accident in Salem where the driver who caused the collision was in another’s vehicle? Insurance coverage issues could arise that may leave you with little choice but to seek compensation from the party responsible for your accident. Yet does that liability extend only to the driver? What about the person that loaned them their vehicle? Should they not also share in the liability?

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows for just that. Simply put, this allows vicarious liability to be assigned to the owner of a vehicle that entrusts their car to one who then causes a car accident. The purpose of this doctrine is to place an additional layer of accountability on vehicle owners by making them carefully consider who they allow to use their vehicles.

However, simply because the driver that hit you was not in their own vehicle does not necessarily mean that negligent entrustment can be applied to your case. Rather, the standard for citing this legal principle has been established by local state court rulings. It has been determined that to apply negligent entrustment, you must show that there was an entrustment, and that the entrustment was negligent.

How can you do this? First it must be shown that the vehicle owner knowingly loaned their car to the driver (this would exclude cases where the vehicle was being used without the owner’s permission). Next, you need to prove that the vehicle owner knew (or should have known) that the driver’s inexperience or incompetence made them a greater risk of causing an accident than an otherwise responsible driver.