Understanding negligent entrustment

| Mar 11, 2019 | Personal Injury |

The expenses that can arise from a car accident in New York City can often press you into seeking compensation from the party responsible for your collision. Yet in cases where the driver that struck you was using another’s vehicle, who would that be? Many of have come us here at Silver & Kelmachter, LLP with the same question. Our response is to inquire as to the exact circumstances of the accident.

The reason for this is the demands required under the legal doctrine of negligent entrustment. Simply put, negligent entrustment allows you to assign vicarious liability to the owner of a vehicle that was loaned to a driver that later caused an accident with it. Section 388 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law states that vehicle owners are jointly liable for any death or injuries caused by others who are operating their cars. There is, however, one condition that must be met in order for this law to apply to your case: the driver who caused the accident must have been given permission (either express or implied) to use the vehicle by its owner.

Say that your vehicle is struck by another driven by one whose sibling loaned them a vehicle. You later learn that the driver has a history of reckless driving citations. In such a case, you could seek compensation for damages from the sibling. Yet what if you are hit by a teen who took their parent’s car without permission? Since the driver technically did not have the owner’s permission to use the vehicle, negligent entrustment may not apply in this scenario.

More information on determining who is liable for a car accident can be found throughout our site.