What is negligent entrustment?

Many New Yorkers will experience a car accident at some point during their lives. Most of these accidents will be minor, but in some cases, the aftermath of a car wreck can be devastating, resulting in life-changing injuries and costly medical bills.

In most cases, the negligent driver who caused the accident will be held liable for any damages that result. If the owner of the car loaned the vehicle to a known bad driver, however, the owner could also be held responsible. This is a legal theory known as vicarious liability. Parents should be especially cautious when loaning a vehicle to their minor children, because they can be held responsible if the child causes an accident, even if the child is not listed on the parents' insurance policy, under family car doctrine laws that are on the books in many states.

Employers will also be held liable if their employees cause a car accident in a company vehicle while on the clock. If the employee was driving the vehicle while off the clock or was using the vehicle in a manner that was outside the scope of their employment, the employer may not be held financially responsible.

Car accident victims may wish to consult a personal injury attorney, particularly if they suffered serious injuries rather than minor property damage. Insurance companies may look for many reasons to deny the claim, such as claiming that the injured party was responsible for the accident or that thei policy does not cover the type of accident that occurred. Having the assistance of an attorney may result in a favorable settlement or, if the insurance company refuses to cooperate, a jury award at a subsequent trial.

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