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The attorneys of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling

Understanding negligent entrustment

On Behalf of | May 6, 2019 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Holding one accountable for causing a car accident in Smithfield may seem difficult, yet it may be necessary in order for you to get the compensation needed to adequately deal with the expenses you might be left with. Yet oftentimes the issue of liability is not exactly “cut-and-dry.” For example, many come to us here at Daughtry, Woodard, Larence & Starling questioning who is liable in cases where the driver who caused the accident was using a borrowed vehicle. The answer to that question depends entirely on the unique circumstances of the incident. 

Typically, if the negligent actions an another caused your accident, that party (and that party alone) is liable. Yet if said party was using another’s vehicle, then the issue of negligent entrustment may come into play. This legal principle allows vicarious liability to be assigned to a person who loaned their vehicle to another. Yet it is not the fact that a person loaned out a vehicle that invokes liability; rather, it is what a vehicle owner knew (or should have known) about the driver that invites it. 

According to the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, you must prove the following five elements to cite negligent entrustment in your case: 

  • That the driver of a vehicle was incompetent, careless or freqeuntly intoxicated
  • That the owner of the vehicle knew (or should have known of these tendencies)
  • The driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries

Negligent entrustment applies only to those cases where a person knowingly enstrusted their vehicle to another. If their vehicle was taken without their permission, negligent entrustment would not be applicable. More information on assigning liability in car accident cases can be found here on our site.