Negligent Entrustment in Massachusetts: What You Need to Know When Someone Else Drives Your Automobile

You may be the safest driver you know. Perhaps you always drive the speed limit, never drive after even one drink or after taking certain medication, and always obey the laws. However, when it comes to car accidents and negligence you can be held liable even if someone else was driving your car.

There are different instances where even if you were not the driver you may be at fault if there is an accident. Here are a few of the situations where the liability may fall on your shoulders if there is an accident involving your vehicle.  This is known as negligent entrustment.

  • Children. Your child’s driving your car carries more responsibility than just higher insurance rates. In fact, many states hold the parents responsible for any accident that occurs where your child is at fault or negligent. One of these rules falls under what is called negligent entrustment, which means that if you know or should know that your child is unable to drive safely for any reason, you are at fault. With the family purpose doctrine, the family’s general-use car is the car owner’s responsibility and if it is involved in an accident, the owner is liable even if he or she was not driving. In fact, some states even hold a parent liable if they are the one that signed a minor’s driver’s license application and that minor is involved in an accident.

  • Employees. Even though an employee may be the driver in an accident, the owner of the vehicle may be held responsible under certain circumstances.
  • Someone Who Uses Your Car. No matter who borrows your car, if you know or should know that they are impaired in any way, you may be liable for any damage done if they are involved in an accident. Impairments such as intoxication, drowsiness, certain medications and overall lack of ability to drive safely fall under this example. Therefore, it is important to know that the person driving your vehicle can do so in a safe manner.

You should always be certain that anyone who uses your vehicle has a valid license.  Allowing an unlicensed person to operate your vehicle can not only be considered negligent entrustment, it can also subject you to criminal penalties.

It is imperative to know your responsibilities as a vehicle owner. Some people may not realize that they are held responsible in the case of an accident where they were not even present. Always be sure that anyone that drives your car is licensed, competent, safe and not impaired in any way.

Additionally, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, there may be additional benefits your attorney can pursue against both the owner and the operator of the vehicle that caused the accident, based on negligent entrustment!   The Law Offices Steven M Houde, PC will promptly investigate your accident claim and advise you of your rights regarding further compensation based on negligent entrustment for your medical care, lost income, pain and suffering and any permanent effects.