In most cases, we led our cars to relatives or friends without having a second thought if a situation calls for this. The main question arises who may be held liable if such a person causes an accident on a borrowed car. Is it the driver or the car owner? The fact is that most people think that in case of such an accident, their car insurance premiums will apply. Sometimes this is not the case. What if the person who was rendered the car causes a serious accident that leads to the injury of the passenger(s)? In such circumstances, who would be held liable for the damages caused? If you have been injured by a driver who borrowed a car, you may be able to impose liability upon the vehicle owner. But this all boils down to the doctrine of negligent entrustment. But this may not be easy if you try to work out the case on your own.
Understanding Negligence Entrustment
In the context of car accidents, the doctrine of negligence entrustments comes about when a car owner lenders his/her car or entrust their vehicle to someone who has a reputation for reckless driving. If your driver was loaned a car and the owner knew that he/she was a bad driver, you would be compensated for your injuries. In the case of a company car, the employer can be held liable for any injuries caused by the entrusted if he/she knew about the entrustee record of reckless driving. This is so because the employer has the responsibility to search through publicly available records if they were hiring such a driver. The doctrine of negligence entrustment is very hard to prove without the help of the best car accident lawyer in Alaska. Having invoked the doctrine of negligent entrustment, you should provide the right evidence that generates a realistic issue:
- The car owner knew or had reasonable knowledge to know that he/she entrusted their vehicle to a negligent driver who was capable of injuring others.
- That the was a proximate cause of the car accident
If you’re a passenger in a non-owner driving the car, you should ensure to seek medical treatment even if you think you were not injured. The vehicle owner will have their insurance company pay for your claim. This will depend on the coverage of the vehicle owner insurance policy. For you to win your case, you need to prove that the car owner implicitly granted permission to the driver who caused you injuries. Here, the test would be that the car owner would have foreseen the driver’s conduct and would not have allowed them to drive. Hence would have safeguarded against the possibility of injuries. Since each case possesses different challenges, the best way is to ensure you have the right legal advice when taking any action.
Proving Evidence In Negligence Entrustment
To provide evidence in negligence entrustment case, you need to have the testimony that the car owner knew about the entrustee reckless driving reputation. As stipulated earlier, this may not be easy to prove. But with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer, he/she may advise you on how to go about your case. It’s worth noting that in the case of a company car, the negligent entrustment theory is a separate theory from vicarious liability. The latter is when one automatically holds the employer liable for the car accident caused by a careless employee. This is different when it comes to negligence entrustment. There must be proof of actual negligence on the part of the car owner that he/she entrusted someone they knew would cause an accident and cause harm. The insurance company of the car owner will have to pay for your injuries. But before this, you will prove that:
- The car owner entrusted their car to the unfit driver
- You suffered an injury as a result of the entrustee reckless driving
Showing your driver unfitness would probably be the most contested issue. But this is possible if:
- The driver has no driving license
- Have a record of driving under the influence,
- Habitual reckless driving
If the above is established, then you can be assured of getting the right compensation. Your lawyer can advise you whether to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit.
Consulting An Experienced Lawyer
In almost every situation, car liability cases are always tricky. If you have been injured as a passenger in a non-owner driving the car, you need to know your rights. You don’t want to seek recovery of your injuries without legal help. You need to understand how to provide the right evidence for your case. Besides, you also need to know how to hold the car owner liable for your injuries or any other damage to your personal items such as watch or phone. A good lawyer will explain everything you need to know about proving liability. He/she will be willing to answer any other question you may have concerning negligence entrustment in car accident cases.