Truck Accident Lawyer
Negligent entrustment is a cause of action somewhat akin to that of negligent selection, training, or the like. These are not uncommon in particular vehicle accidents or truck accidents. Imagine an employee driving a company’s semi-truck loaded with gasoline. He has an impacted driving record known to the employer. Further imagine that the employee stopped at a bar for lunch and had a few alcoholic beverages. Next, he decides to get back on the road, but falls asleep while driving. He wakes up after having run into the median, the truck catching on fire, with three other cars near him also engulfed in flames as a result. Above and beyond suing the employee for negligence, a truck accident lawyer will say the injured parties could also potentially sue the employer who hired the employee for negligent entrustment of the vehicle. This is just one of many fact scenarios that could lead to a plaintiff filing a civil action alleging negligent entrustment.
To succeed on a claim for negligent entrustment, a plaintiff must show two (2) key elements: (1) that an entrustment occurred, and (2) that the entrustment was negligent. This means that the plaintiff must show the defendant who entrusted the vehicle had a duty to only entrust the vehicle to responsible drivers, the defendant failed to do so, the entrustment caused the harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result thereof.
In the context of negligently entrusting vehicles to another, courts commonly rely on two principles: (1) a claim of negligent entrustment is based upon knowingly entrusting, lending, permitting, furnishing, or supplying an automobile to an incompetent or habitually careless driver and (2) an incompetent driver is one, who by reason of age, experience, physical or mental condition, or known habits of recklessness, is incapable of operating a vehicle with ordinary care.
A common example of a negligent entrustment claim could involve a parent entrusting a vehicle to a child. For example, imagine an intoxicated 17-year-old who crossed the center line of a highway and killed two (2) of the three (3) passengers in the opposite vehicle after crossing the center line. A jury is then charged with deciding whether the parents negligently entrusted the vehicle to the minor. To support their claim, the plaintiffs argue that because the minor son has received three traffic citations within the prior four (4) months – speeding, careless driving, and reckless driving – the parents knew or should have known that the son was reckless, and the parents were therefore negligent. More likely than not, a jury would side with the plaintiffs and hold that the parents were negligent in entrusting their vehicle to their son.
Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight on negligent entrustment claims. If you have any further questions regarding negligent entrustment in an accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced and dedicated lawyer that you can trust. The legal steps easily become overwhelming and a good lawyer understands this for their clients. Allow a legal professional to help you fully understand all of your options.