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Reviewing the concept of negligent entrustment

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2017 | Car Accidents

No one in Richmond ever anticipates being involved in a car accident, yet when one is, he or she likely holds out hope that the insurance of the responsible driver (and/or his or her own) will cover whatever expenses are associated with it. Yet in severe accidents, even the assistance offered by insurers may not be enough to meet the cost of repairs and medical bills (not to mention the emotional grief one has to go through in the immediate aftermath). In such a case, one might have little choice but to seek added compensation from the driver responsible for causing his or her accident. The question whether that person is the only one who can be held liable.

The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment allows one to assign vicarious liability to a person who entrusted his or her vehicle to an irresponsible driver. In most casses, this scenario involves teenage drivers. As such parties often do not have the funds to pay back accident victims, the law allows for such victims to hold the owners of the vehicles the teens were driving liable. Indeed, Section 186.593(3) of Kentucky’s state statutes shows that any vehicle owner that allows one under the age of 18 to drive his or her vehicle is jointy and severally liable for any damages the minor causes. 

This principle does not only apply to teenage drivers, however. According to the State Law Summary, it can also be cited in cases were one lends his or her car to another he or she knows to be: 

  • Inexperienced
  • Careless
  • Reckless
  • Known to drink and drive

To key to assigning vicarious liability in such a situation, however, is showing that the vehicle owner both knew the person would be using the car, and knew the person to have such tendencies.