Negligent Entrustment in Vehicle Collisions
While our laws generally hold people responsible for their own direct actions, there are exceptions. In most vehicle accidents only the driver is liable, but there are a few times when both the driver and the car’s owner are responsible. This is because, occasionally, a vehicle owner allows someone else to take his car on the road when he clearly shouldn’t have. Doing so is known as negligent entrustment.
Entrustment of a Vehicle
While a vehicle owner has the right to lend out his car, he is expected to make a reasonable assessment of the borrower’s ability to operate it safely. Under Texas law, there are five elements of a negligent entrustment claim:
- The owner shared his vehicle. There must be evidence that the owner voluntarily entrusted his car to another individual.
- The individual the vehicle was shared with is unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless. There must be evidence that the borrower of the vehicle was deficient in some aspect of driving.
- The owner knew, or should have known, that he was sharing his vehicle with an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless individual. There must be evidence that the vehicle owner knew that the borrower was unfit to drive.
- The individual the vehicle was shared with was negligent on the occasion in question. Even when there is evidence that the vehicle’s borrower was deficient in some way, this alone is not enough. There must also be proof that the driver was specifically negligent on the occasion in question.
- This negligence was the proximate cause of the accident and the resulting injuries. There must be evidence that the driver’s negligence directly caused the accident, and that the accident in turn caused the victim’s injuries.
Hurt by the Driver of a Borrowed Vehicle
If you’ve suffered collision injuries caused by the driver of a borrowed vehicle, you may be entitled to pursue compensation from both the driver and the owner of the vehicle. These claims are often extremely complex, requiring the expertise of an experienced vehicle accident attorney. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.