We trust that everyone on the road is willing to handle the responsibility that comes with driving, but we know that not everyone is capable of this. However, it’s not always the driver that caused the accident that is the sole party to blame. After all, if someone knowingly allows an inexperienced or illegal driver to get behind the wheel of their vehicle, they too share the blame for any accident they may cause on the road.
This is the driving principle behind the concept of negligent entrustment. Below, we take a closer look at what negligent entrustment is and how it can factor into your injury case.
Negligent Entrustment In Minnesota
As we touched on in the intro, negligent entrustment is the idea of assigning liability to a person or vehicle owner who allowed someone else to cause an accident in their vehicle. Some common examples of such situations include:
- Parents lending their vehicle to their newly licensed son or daughter.
- Someone allowing an unlicensed driver to drive their car.
- Someone allowing a knowingly intoxicated person to drive their car.
- Allowing someone to drive your car after their license has been suspended or revoked.
The idea behind negligent entrustment is to keep vehicle owners from lending their vehicle out to at-risk drivers. Now, that’s not to say that no parent should ever allow their newly licensed driver to take the vehicle for a spin, but it’s worth noting that it’s the parents who might be on the hook if an accident occurs. The concept is also in place to help vehicle owners realize that they can still be held legally accountable even if they aren’t behind the wheel if they made a poor choice to allow someone to use their vehicle.
Picture this. You and some friends come back to your place after having some beers at the bar down the street. One of your buddies offers to drive to Taco Bell and grab food for the group. You know that you are over the limit and you suspect that your friend is too, but you lend him your car because you assume that if he gets pulled over, he’ll be the one getting the DUI, not you. However, if that friend causes an accident with injury, you also may be named in the injury lawsuit because you made the poor decision to knowingly lend your vehicle to someone who you suspected should not have been driving.
It’s also important to note that you need to give permission to the other party in order for negligent entrustment to occur. For example, if you allow your sober friend to drive part of the road trip and you were unaware their license had been recently suspended, you may not be found guilty of negligent entrustment. The same can be said if your adult child borrows your car one night without permission and causes an accident while under the influence. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll win on this ground, but if you were unaware that your car was being driven or that the other party was not legally allowed to drive, you may have an argument against negligent entrustment.
So if you have been injured in an automobile accident and it turns out that another party may have played a role in the driver’s ability to be behind the wheel, talk to an injury lawyer about the prospect of invoking the negligent entrustment clause and going after both parties with a lawsuit. For more information, or for help with your car accident claim, reach out to the experienced legal team at Margolis Law Office today.
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