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What is negligent entrustment?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2018 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Anyone can be involved in an auto accident in The Woodlands. However, such incidents are typically the result of reckless behavior on the part of at least one of the parties involved. If it turns out that the person who caused your car accident had a history of driving problems, you might rightly question why one allowed him or her access to a vehicle in the first place. That question might ultimately extend to whether the person who entrusted him or her with a car can also be held liable for your accident. 

Negligent entrustment refers to the legal principle that assigns vicarious liability to parties whose decisions to loan their cars to others results in accidents. Now, you might question whether one can actually anticipate whether the person he or she borrows a vehicle to will be involved in a collision. While knowing that may be impossible, there certainly may be indicators that show there was an increased liklihood for it to happen. 

For this reason, certain elements must be in place in order to apply the principle of negligent entrustment to your auto accident case. These elements have been defined by the Texas Supreme Court. In such a case, you must show that: 

  • The vehicle owner knowingly entrusted it to the driver
  • That driver was reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed
  • The vehicle owner had sufficient proof to know that the driver was reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed
  • The driver’s conduct was indeed negligent on ooccasion of the accident
  • That negligence was the proximate cause of your accident

As an example, a parent whose unlicensed teen driver took his or her car without permission may not be held liable under negligent entrustment. Had he or she given the teen the car to use (knowing the teen was unlicensed), then it would.