If you let someone else drive your car, whether it be your teenager, your boyfriend, or your best friend, there is a change you could be held liable in the case that their negligent or careless driving causes someone else harm. Continue below to learn more about this type of liability, and what you can do if you were injured as a result of another’s driving negligence.
Vicarious Liability and Car Accidents
When it comes to liability and personal injury compensation, the primary element of every case is to determine who is at fault for the car accident. In doing so, it is possible for more than one person to be responsible, such as the case of letting someone else drive your legally-owned and registered vehicle. Even if you are not in the car nor at the scene of the accident, you could be held legally responsible for all damages incurred by the car accident victims if someone wrecks your car while driving it with your permission.
The relationship between you and the driver must be a certain type, however, in order for you to be liable as the vehicle owner. Such relationships include parent and child, employer and employee, and similar types of connections. This is known as vicarious liability, which is also referred to as imputed negligence. There is another area of law that applies in the case of loaning your vehicle to someone who you know is incompetent, called negligent entrustment.
For example, let’s say you loan your car to your best friend because hers is in the shop for the week. She goes on to drive your car intoxicated and causes a serious car accident, injuring other drivers and their passengers. Because you are the car owner, and you allowed them to operate your vehicle, it could be you that winds up a defendant in court, and accused of being liable for all damages and losses of the victims.
Parents and Teens
There are few relevant laws for parents who let their teenagers drive their vehicles. Negligent entrustment is a legal theory and applied law that holds parents or guardians responsible for all damages caused by their child’s negligent driving. This is often used in cases in which teens are unlicensed or inexperienced. Then, there is the Family Purpose Doctrine, which holds you, the car owner, liable for any damages caused to other drivers if a family member drives your car. This liability applies whether you give your relative permission or not.
Employers and Staff
In the case of driving a company car, the employer is legally responsible for their employee’s driving while they are performing work-related duties. If the employee drives negligently and causes a car accident, the employer will be the one who is liable for all damages incurred by the car accident victims, including property and personal injury damages.
If you were to loan your vehicle to someone who you know is irresponsible, negligent, reckless, unlicensed, intoxicated, a substance abuser, too elderly, ill, or otherwise unfit to drive a car, you would be legally responsible for any damages they cause while driving your car under negligent entrustment laws. This applies to both family members and non-relatives.
Are you an Indiana car accident survivor looking to be compensated for your damages and suffering? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer. We represent clients throughout the State of Indiana.
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