Permitting an Incompetent, Reckless, or Unfit Driver to Use Your Car
In most situations involving injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, any claim for damages is made against the person driving the other vehicle. There are, however, instances where you can seek damages from a third-party—someone not even in the car at the time of the crash. Some examples include claims against employers for accidents caused by their employees, claims against parents for accidents caused by their teenage children, and claims against manufacturers, designers, and sellers for accidents caused by dangerous or defective products.
One of the legal principles that can be used to hold a parent liable for the acts of a child is negligent entrustment, which actually has a more expansive application under the law. It imposes liability in any situation where you knew or should have known that the person you allowed to use your car lacked the competency to do so safely.
When Does the Doctrine of Negligent Entrustment Apply?
The legal theory of negligent entrustment holds that you may be liable if you let an incompetent, reckless, or unfit person operate your vehicle, and they cause an accident. There are many situations where the doctrine can apply:
- Where you knew or should have known that the driver lacked the necessary experience and skills to safely operate a car, whether because of lack of training, age, or inexperience
- Where you knew or should have known that the driver had mental health issues or other health issues that impaired his or her ability to safely drive a motor vehicle
- Where you knew or should have known that the person’s advanced age, fragility, lack of attention span, or other issues rendered him or her unsafe behind the wheel
- Where you knew or should have known that the person taking your car was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have protected the rights of personal injury victims in Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, e-mail, and videoconferencing. To schedulean appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.
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