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Defining negligent entrustment

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Those who have been involved in car accidents in Georgetown often may not plan on seeking compensation through legal action; however, they are often left with little choice. When serious accidents occur, the disbursements made through insurance providers may not be enough to cover all of one’s accident expenses. Yet the pursuit of compensation following a car accident may become more complicated if one discovers that the person that caused their accident was not driving their own vehicle. In such a situation, one may wonder whether the actual owner of the vehicle may then be held liable.

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows for this. This philosophy assigns vicarious liability to the owner of a potentially dangerous instrument (in this case, a vehicle) when that person entrusts it to another party who then causes injuries or damage with it. Some might think this goes without saying (that a vehicle owner would be responsible for any incidents that arise from its use), yet there are certain scenarios where one might be absolved of liability for accidents involving their vehicle when they are not behind the wheel.

Indeed, Kentucky state court rulings have established a standard under which negligent entrustment is applied to an auto accident case. To be held liable for an accident caused by another, the vehicle owner must have proof that the person had displayed any of the following tendencies related to their driving:

  • Inexperience
  • Carelessness
  • Recklessness
  • Driving while intoxicated

Absent such proof, an argument may be made that the vehicle owner had no reason to suspect the driver’s behavior would put others at risk. A vehicle owner would also not be liable if another caused an accident after taking their vehicle without permission.