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If Someone Else Causes an Accident in My Car Can I Be Sued?

Posted on: January 25, 2017

accident

When there is an auto accident, the fault is generally placed on a driver of a vehicle. So when there is a case of personal injury, the injured will pursue the driver of the vehicle that was at fault. As with all things, it isn’t always so matter-of-fact.  There are some instances where the owner of the vehicle can be held responsible.

Negligent Entrustment in an Auto Accident

When a person knowingly allows a person to use their vehicle who is unlicensed, drunk or portraying restless behavior in some other form that could be perceived as unfit to drive and that person causes damages that is referred to as negligent entrustment. In that case the owner may be responsible for the damage that may be caused by their decision. This can include parents allowing an inexperienced youth to use their car.

In order to prove negligent entrustment, an injured party would have to prove the following:

  • That the owner of the vehicle allowed the person to use their vehicle
  • That the driver was indeed unlicensed, drunk, inexperienced, etc.
  • That the owner of the vehicle knew the driver was any of the above
  • That the driver was negligent
  • And that the driver’s negligence caused the damages/injury

Negligent Maintenance

Poor maintenance of a vehicle that ends up contributing to an automobile accident is another instance where a car owner may be held responsible or at least partially responsible for an accident. This is referred to as negligent maintenance and this again would require that the vehicle owner was aware of the maintenance issues prior to allowing the driver to use the automobile.

Vicarious Liability

Perhaps one of the best known liabilities where a driver may not be held responsible is the one where the company owner has drivers working for them such as in delivery services. This is known as vicarious liability. Provided the employee is in the process of doing the task they were sent to do and not using the vehicle to carry out their own purposes, the company who sent them out is largely held responsible for any damages caused by the company’s vehicles.

Hit and Run

One other situation where an owner, not a driver, may find themselves being sued for damages is when there is a failure to transfer the title of a vehicle after it is sold. It is up to the buyer to transfer the title of a vehicle. If an individual does not follow procedure and then has an accident with that vehicle and flees the scene, the owner of the vehicle may be sued for damages. In the sale of a vehicle, be sure to, at the very least, retain the information of the individual you sold it to and provide this information to the DMV when you sell it.

If you have found yourself in the middle of a personal injury suit where you were the owner of the vehicle but not the driver, contact a personal injury attorney to protect you. Edwards & Patterson are here to help in eastern Oklahoma. Call and find out what your rights are today.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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