What Is Negligent Entrustment?

Negligent Entrustment

Under the negligent entrustment doctrine, a car owner may be liable for injuries that were caused by another person’s negligence if a car owner knowingly entrusted their car to an incompetent driver. Negligent entrustment requires proof of the car owner’s actual knowledge regarding the driver’s incompetence.

The driver’s incompetence may be evidenced by the following:

  • Age or inexperience
  • Physical or mental condition
  • Habit of recklessness

Evidence of Actual Knowledge

Unlike other negligence-based claims, liability cannot be established by showing that the owner would have known about the driver’s incompetence through the exercise of reasonable care and diligence. For example, a car owner who fails to determine whether the driver had a valid license is not liable for negligent entrustment even though the driver did not have a valid license. If the car owner has a statutory duty to check the driver’s qualifications, they cannot use lack of actual knowledge to defend against liability for negligent entrustment.

Evidence of Permission

One of the elements required for establishing liability for negligent entrustment is proof that the car owner authorized the negligent driver to use their car. If an employer entrusts an employee with driving a company vehicle, permission to use the vehicle may be inferred from the existence of an employment relationship. However, if the injury-producing accident occurred when the employee drives the car contrary to the employer’s express directions against doing so, and without their knowledge or consent, the owner may not be liable for negligent entrustment.

Experienced Representation from a Marietta Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you should call Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. to consult one of our dedicated Marietta car accident attorneys for legal advice. Backed by years of experience in personal injury litigation and a comprehensive understanding of Georgia law, our attorneys can guide you through each facet of the litigation process. We are dedicated to providing you with effective legal representation from the outset of your case until its ultimate resolution.

You can schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable car accident attorneys today by calling us at (770) 629-0154 or contacting us online.