The other day, a client asked me a car accident related question, wondering whether they could be held responsible for lending their motor vehicle to another person who is later involved in a car crash. There is a common misconception among Chester County, Pennsylvania residents, that a person who lends a car to another – who is later involved in a car accident – is automatically responsible for all the road accident injuries. This is not true. An automobile lender can only be held responsible if he or she did something careless. Lending a car to another person is not in and of itself deemed a careless act.
There are however, situations where lending an automobile to another person could give rise to the owner of the car being held liable and responsible. This is known in the law as “Negligent Entrustment,” and applies to situations where the owner of the motor vehicle either knew or, when acting as a reasonable person, should have known that the person who was going to use the vehicle was not a safe driver. This could be because the driver was under age; did not have a driver’s license; never learned to drive; was intoxicated or suffered from a type of mental or physical handicap that rendered that person incapable of safe driving. If the car owner permits the other person to use the vehicle under those circumstances, then he or she could be responsible for all the damages that happened from the accident.
Car Accident Lawyer Recent Negligent Entrustment Case
I handled a case involving “Negligent Entrustment” resulting from an accident on the Route 30 Bypass in Downingtown several years ago. The owner of a high performance sports car, lent it to a friend to “test it out”. The friend was visibly intoxicated, and took the vehicle out on route 30 to race it. This car driver caused a collision injuring the person who became my client.. It was clearly a case where the owner of the motor vehicle as well as the driver could be held jointly responsible for all the injuries caused to my client, the innocent person.
Be careful about lending your car to people who suffer from seizures, are drunk, over medicated or do not have the experience necessary to safely operate a vehicle. If you do, there could be considered negligent entrustment, and the liability for the car accident can be yours.