It is possible you can be held liable for injuries in a vehicle accident even when you are nowhere near the accident when it occurs. Protect yourself by understanding the legal doctrine called “negligent entrustment”.
If you allow another person to drive your vehicle when you know or should have known they are incompetent of driving. For example, if you allow a 15-year-old unlicensed driver to drive your vehicle and they cause an accident. Then most likely you will be responsible for the damages due to negligent entrustment.
To establish a vehicle owner’s liability under negligent entrustment, the injured person must prove the following:
- The owner entrusted the vehicle to the driver
- The driver was unlicensed, incompetent or reckless.
- The owner knew or should have known the driver was unlicensed, incompetent or reckless
- The driver was negligent in the accident in question
- The driver’s negligence proximately caused the accident.
One example is a case called Bedford vs. Moore in Texas in 2005. The court upheld a negligent entrustment verdict against the owner of the gravel company because the company failed to perform a driving history on the drive. If the company had looked into the driving history, the company would have seen several transgressions on the driving report.
Furthermore, the driver showed up that morning with a bandage on her head after spending all night in the emergency room which could have also made her driving questionable that day. Therefore, the company’s owner was held liable for the accident that the employee caused because of negligent entrustment.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and you need to know who is legally responsible, Dallas accident attorney Sean Chalaki can help. Contact him at the Law Office of Sean Chalaki at 972-793-8500.