In Virginia, the negligent driver who causes an auto collision is responsible for compensating the victims for their injuries. However, the person behind the wheel is not always the vehicle’s owner. In some cases, the owner can also be found liable under the negligent entrustment doctrine.
When the Negligent Entrustment Doctrine Can Help in Your Auto Crash Case
The negligent entrustment rule can be used to hold additional parties liable in car accident and other personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, an owner can be responsible for compensating victims if they gave someone permission to use their motor vehicle when they knew or should have known that doing so creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In order to win a negligent entrustment claim, an individual would need to prove all of the following:
- The driver to blame for the crash had the actual or implied consent of the owner to drive their auto.
- The owner knew or should have known that granting the motorist permission to use their vehicle would cause an unreasonable danger to others because the motorist was unfit or unable to safely operate it.
- A victim suffered injuries as a direct result of the negligent entrustment.
While negligent entrustment will not be available in all cases, there are a number of circumstances where it can be applicable. Examples of situations where it may apply include:
- The driver was obviously impaired due to alcohol or illegal drug consumption.
- The driver had a vision impairment that made them an unsafe driver.
- The driver was driving when they had no driver’s license or when it was revoked or suspended.
- The driver had a medical or mental health condition that made it unsafe for them to operate a motor vehicle.
- The driver was not supposed to drive due to medications they were taking.
- The driver has received many traffic violations or caused other car accidents in the past.
- The owner knew that their car had a defect or needed a repair that made it unsafe to drive but let someone drive it anyway, and this was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
Why Negligent Entrustment Could Be Important in Your Case
You may not see the need to pursue claims against other parties if you know that you can hold the negligent driver accountable. However, they may have insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you. If you want to receive all the compensation you deserve, you should file claims with the motorist’s, owner’s, and any other liable party’s insurance companies if you can.
Were you or a family member injured in an auto wreck in Norfolk? Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to pursue claims against all negligent parties on your behalf. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to learn about your options for recovery. Fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office today to schedule your appointment.