Vicarious Liability, Negligent Entrustment

You might be surprised to learn that your car could sustain damage even if you aren’t driving it. You could be held responsible for any accident that occurs, regardless of whether you lend your car to a friend or family member. This article will discuss several situations where you might be responsible for the actions of another person.

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If you lend your car to a poor driver

You could be held responsible for any accidents caused by someone you lend your car to. Both the vehicle’s owner and driver can be named in a lawsuit, under the theory of “vicarious negligence.” Even if there are no “owner’s liability” statutes, common law theories of “negligent trustment” could make you liable for injuries sustained by bad drivers who were trusted with your vehicle.

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The Family Car Doctrine states that parents can be held responsible for any damage done to the vehicle by minors, even if they are not listed on the automobile insurance policy. Parents should exercise caution when giving teens the right to drive.

Hire someone to drive the company vehicle

Employers may also be held liable for injuries caused by employees using company vehicles under the general negligence theories of vicarious responsibility and “respondeat superior”. This vicarious liability applies only to accidents that happen during employment. It does not apply to employees who use the vehicle for personal or errand purposes.

An example: If an employee is in an accident while driving to the office of a client to drop off paperwork, the employer could be held responsible since the accident happened within the scope and scope of employment. The employee was not using the car for work. The employer is unlikely to be held responsible if the employee decides to take a 2-hour unauthorized trip to the mall, and causes an accident. This is because the employee was not using the car for business purposes. The employee was not acting in the scope of his employment.

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When you manufacture/construct a bad road?

The law allows for remote or vicarious liability in two additional circumstances. The other is an accident that was caused by a defective vehicle. A “product liability” lawsuit against a manufacturer might be appropriate in such cases. A number of state laws allow for lawsuits against state highway officials and departments in connection to the negligent construction and repair of roads, bridges, streets, or overpasses that could have proximately contributed to an accident.

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Do you have questions about Negligence Entrustment and Vicarious Liability?

You should first contact an experienced car accident lawyer if your car was involved in a crash. An experienced lawyer will have knowledge of the laws in your area and can explain what you could be held responsible as the owner.

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