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What Is Negligent Entrustment?

In Alabama, if you suffer an injury in a motor vehicle accident caused by the wrongful misconduct of the driver, you have an entitlement to recover damages. This situation often comes into question whether a parent or an owner of a vehicle is responsible for a minor or another person using the vehicle with permission. In these types of events, neither the parent, owner, or minor are liable for injuries caused by another person using their vehicle.

However, a person or a business can have liability for accidents caused by their agents or employees. This means being the parent of a driver or owner of a vehicle does not make them automatically liable for injuries. On the other hand, in Alabama, under some circumstances, a parent of a driver or an owner of a vehicle can be liable for injuries, through evidence of negligent entrustment.

Negligent Entrustment

Negligent entrustment is a tort law which provides for the recovery of damages through a civil lawsuit. Negligent entrustment is when an individual is liable due to the negligence of another individual who caused injury to a third party with the original owner’s vehicular or other instrument. In Alabama, this means the owner of a vehicle may be liable for injuries resulting from an accident in which they were not present, but their vehicle was. If the original owner is or should have been aware of the risk of injury posed by the driver, but allows use of the vehicle anyway, then a court could hold the owner liable by the doctrine of negligent entrustment.

Negligent entrustment benefits the injured party to secure damages. Often, the driver does not have the necessary insurance coverage to payout damages in full, thus bringing in the original owner for liability, allows the court to spread liability around. This maximizes the injured party’s ability for a successful and adequate recovery.

How to Prove Negligent Entrustment

Every state has its own way of proving negligent entrustment. In Alabama, negligent entrustment is proven if all of the following elements are true:

  • The driver was incompetent.
  • The vehicle owner permitted the driver to use the vehicle.
  • The vehicle owner knew or should have known the driver was incompetent.
  • The driver’s incompetence directly contributed to the accident and injuries sustained.

Most of these elements go uncontested because they are easy to prove. The only exception is the third element, proving the owner of a vehicle knew of the driver’s incompetence, can be the most difficult to determine, and even hold up a case.

Difficulty in proving this element is related to other defenses, such as the driver was not incompetent, the owner did not know of incompetence, and the owner did not give permission. If you or your loved one has been involved in an accident, in which you believe negligent entrustment is at stake, contact our firm to evaluate your case. Our experienced lawyers may be able to put the evidence together that you need to compensate for damages.

 

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We are committed to providing you with comprehensive, personalized legal representation. You may even ask one of our previous clients about the success of our unique, client-oriented approach to injury litigation. We have a history of securing verdicts and settlements for negligent entrustment.