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What Is Negligent Entrustment?

What Is Negligent Entrustment?
Christian J. Amendt

Very often, the results of a car accident in Pomona can be devastating, resulting in death or serious injuries to accident victims. If you have been involved in such an accident, then you may be discovering that in such cases, the amount of compensation offered by an auto insurance provider is not sufficient to cover your injury expenses. In such a scenario, you may be left with little choice but to seek legal against the driver responsible for your accident. Yet if if is revealed that they were not even driving their own vehicle when they hit you, then there may be a strong possibility that they do no have sufficient resources to compensate you.

In such a scenario, could you hold the owner of the vehicle liable? The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment allows you to do just that. Negligent entrustment affords the opportunity to assign liability to the owners of vehicles who loaned them to drivers that then caused injuries or damages. The reasoning behind this legal principle is that the owner likely knew (or should have known) that the driver they entrusted with their vehicle was either reckless or an incompetent behind the wheel.

This idea introduces the one challenge to applying negligent entrustment to your case. Per California’s Civil Jury Instructions, you must be able to prove the following if this principle is to apply:

  • The driver was reckless in operating the vehicle
  • The driver had the vehicle with the owner’s permission
  • The owner knew (or should have known) of the driver’s tendencies
  • The owner still permitted the driver to use the vehicle
  • The driver’s recklessness was a substantial factor in causing you harm

As you can see, proving the owner’s indifference in loaning our their vehicle is key to making a successful argument.

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