Are You Liable for Another Person’s Driving?
The unfortunate news is that you may be responsible for a car accident even if you were not in the car. When determining liability in a vehicle accident, the key issue is generally which driver was at fault. Usually, if a driver is negligent and did not use reasonable care and caution while they were driving, he or she will be deemed at fault. However, the law is able to assign fault to an individual who was not driving or in the car at the time of the accident. There are some situations where this may happen, including:
- If you are an employee: The law states that employers may be responsible for negligent driving if the accident occurred while the employee was performing their job duties. This is called “vicarious liability” or “imputed negligence.” For example, if you are an employer and your employee goes through a stop sign and hits another car when driving the company car during work hours, you will be held liable for the damages caused by your employee.
- In some states, car owners are legally responsible for any kind of negligent driving by anyone using the owner’s car with the owner’s permission.
- There are three main theories or doctrines which pertain to a situation where you are the parent and your child drives negligently when using the family car. ‘Negligent entrustment’ holds that if a parent lends the family car to a minor child knowing the child is reckless or inexperienced, the parent may be held liable for any damage caused by the child’s driving. Other states rely on a ‘family purpose doctrine’ which holds that when someone purchases and maintains a car for general family purposes, the owner of the vehicle may be held liable for negligent driving when anyone in the family uses the car. Some states have laws that state that the person who signs a minor’s driver’s license application is legally responsible for the minor’s negligent driving.
- If you lend your car to a driver who is incompetent, reckless or unfit, and he or she drives negligently and has an accident, you will be liable for damages and injuries that result from the accident. This is also known as ‘negligent entrustment.’
- In some states, lending your car to an unfit, reckless or incompetent driver means that you have committed negligent entrustment and you may be liable for injuries and damage in an accident caused by that driver. Lending your car to someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol constitutes negligent entrustment, as does lending your car to an unlicensed or under age driver, an inexperienced driver, an elderly driver, a driver that suffers from an illness that affects their driving capabilities or a driver who has a history of reckless driving.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries and property damage in a car accident and you are thinking of filing a claim, look no further than Attorney Fatos Dervishi. You need a skilled, knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer by your side to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact Attorney Fatos Dervishi now!