When Are You Liable For Another’s Driving?

When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, the biggest issue is determining which driver is responsible or at fault for the incident. It typically comes down to if one of the drivers was negligent and did not use reasonable caution and/or care while driving.

While this holds true for most car accidents, there are a handful of situations where a person who was not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident can be found at fault or held liable for the incident.

One example of this situation is when an employee drives the car. By law, the employer is responsible for wrongful acts committed by its employees, and negligent driving falls under that context. Basically, if an employee breaks the law and causes an accident while driving a company vehicle during work hours, the employer will be held responsible for the damages caused.

Another example, in some states, holds car owners responsible for negligent driving by anyone they gave permission to use the vehicle. These states do not require the relationship to be that of an employer and employee.

A third example of when you could be liable for another’s driving is when parents let their child or children use the car. In this case, there are a handful of laws dictating liability in this situation:

  • Family purpose doctrine – in state’s where this is implemented, when a car is purchased and maintained for general family use, the owner of the vehicle is liable for negligent driving by any family member who uses it.
  • Signing a minor’s driver’s license application – some states require a minor’s driver’s license application to be signed by an adult. The person (usually a parent) signing is then legally responsible for the minor’s negligent driving.
  • Negligent entrustment – this is when a parent lets a minor child use the family vehicle even though they know the child is reckless, inexperience, and/or incompetent.

Negligent entrustment also applies outside of the parent/child relationship. If you lend your car to a person who is incompetent, reckless or unfit and he or she causes a car accident, you will be liable for damages and injuries from the accident. In this case, it is important to know what makes someone incompetent, reckless or an unfit driver. Following are examples of such:

  • Intoxicated
  • Unlicensed/underage
  • Inexperienced
  • Elderly
  • Previously reckless

Free Consultation with Experienced Birmingham Car Accident Attorneys Today

If you or a loved one are looking to pursue legal action after your car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. The lawyers at Salter Ferguson are ready to help you with your case.

Contact our office in Birmingham today for a free consultation and begin discussing your legal options.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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