Did you know that if you are injured because of another person’s negligence, you can claim damages from each individual who bore some responsibility for the accident? This is what is meant by negligent entrustment. It provides for the recovery of damages when a person puts a dangerous device in the hands of someone who is, quite frankly, not equipped to handle it properly. And so, the victim of the accident may then be able to recover damages from the owner of the device.
In some jurisdictions, negligent entrustment is considered a tort that allows for the recovery of damages through a civil lawsuit. In technical speak, negligent entrustment arises when one individual is held liable for providing a second party with a dangerous device with which the second party causes injury to a third party.
What to Know About Negligent Entrustment Claims
There are two main scenarios in negligent entrustment claims – weapon-related violence and car accidents. This post looks at negligent entrustment claims with regards to car accidents. The legal premise here is that the owner providing the car should have known or did know that the vehicle could be used to harm others due to the borrower’s age, disabilities, known history of reckless driving, invalid driver’s license, or inexperience.
The Elements of a Negligent Entrustment Claim
There are four elements to succeed with a negligent entrustment motor vehicle claim. The injured person must prove:
- The person accused of entrusting a vehicle to an unfit driver owned or had control of the car in question
- The vehicle owner knowingly entrusted it to the driver
- The driver entrusted with the vehicle was incompetent and unfit to drive safely
- The defendant knew the driver was incompetent, unfit, or incapable of safely driving the vehicle
- The driver proximately caused the collision in which the victim was injured or his family member killed
What Happens in a Drunk or Reckless Driving Case?
Often victims of drunk driving will launch a negligent entrustment claim, as intoxication constitutes a physical impairment. And so, if someone loans or entrusts his vehicle to a driver he knows to be intoxicated, the owner of the car can be held liable for the injuries or death of the person in the car accident caused by the impaired driver.
This claim can also come about if it is known that the owner accused of negligently entrusting a vehicle to the driver knew that the driver had a record of reckless driving, including driving drunk. Even if the driver was sober when taking control of the vehicle, if the driver has a history of drunk driving or driving problems known to the owner, negligent entrustment can still be advanced.
There are two approaches to establishing liability under a theory of negligent entrustment, which differ depending on the state in which you live:
- Actual knowledge: If the vehicle owner knows the driver that they entrust their vehicle to is incompetent or unable to operate the car in the same way as a normal driver. For example, loaning a car to someone underage or with a poor driving record.
- Constructive knowledge: If the owner wasn’t aware of the driver’s incompetence at the time of loaning the car, the owner would still be liable if he knew of facts or circumstances relating to the driver’s inability. For example, if the owner knew of specific instances of recklessness on the driver’s part or perhaps their incompetence was generally known in the community.
Car accident lawyers have experience advancing negligent entrustment claims against vehicle owners who provide cars and trucks to impaired or unsafe drivers. A car accident attorney’s years of legal representation and extensive knowledge of car accident litigation will provide you with the security of knowing that they can handle your accident case from meeting until achieving a final resolution or settlement.
How We Can Help
As a client of the Law Offices of David Kohm, we want to assure you that we will handle your legal matters with the utmost discretion and privacy. It is imperative that you be made aware of your legal rights, and we will work to get the best settlement possible for you. Our focus is to help you reach a quick and financially beneficial solution to your legal matters.
When you choose David Kohm as your auto accident attorney, you can expect a free initial consultation; availability 24/7; compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and car repair expenses; and rental car assistance.
Our Arlington & DFW auto accident attorneys are ready to help if you’re ever in a car wreck. We serve the residents in the surrounding area as well. Do not hesitate to contact us today to learn more about our auto accident attorneys.
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