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What is negligent entrustment?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Car accidents are typically just that: accidents. They often result from a moment of inattentiveness or even unintentional carelessness on the part of one who otherwise is a capable driver. Knowing that the drivers you typically encounter on Connecticut’s roads practice the same defensive driving practices that you do makes you more willing to accept the inherent risks that comes with driving. It is also for this reason why discovering that the driver that caused your accident had a history of reckless driving is often so infuriating.

When such a driver causes an accident, you may rightly question who might have allowed them to drive in the first place. If you subsequently discover that they were not driving their own vehicle at the time of the accident, your frustrations may grow to include the vehicle owner.

Assigning third party liability for a car accident

The question is whether liability for your accident also extends that far. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows you to hold a vehicle owner responsible if another uses their vehicle to cause an accident. This extended liability applies to those cases where one loans their car to another or (according to Section 14-15a of Connecticut’s General Statutes) parties that rent or lease vehicles to others.

Citing negligent entrustment in your car accident case

Yet the mere fact that the driver that hit you was not in their own vehicle at the time may not be enough for negligent entrustment to apply to your case. Rather, local state court rulings show that the state requires you to prove that the vehicle owner knew (or should have known) that the driver’s history indicated that they were incompetent to inexperienced behind the wheel, and that even knowing this, the owner granted them access to the vehicle anyway.