When a car accident is caused by a negligent driver, it may seem obvious that the driver should be held liable for damages. It is important to note, however, that in some situations the law can assign liability to another person or company who may not have even been present at the time of the accident. Accident victims should know who exactly can be held liable in any situation in order to obtain the compensation they deserve.
If an employee causes an accident while on working, that person’s employer may be held liable for the employee’s actions. For example, if someone driving a company car on company related business runs a red light and causes an accident, the employer can be liable for damages for any injury or property damage the accident caused. Vicarious liability is common in commercial truck accidents where a trucking company is held responsible for the actions of truck drivers.
Negligent entrustment can occur when a person loans his or her car to a person who may be unsuitable to drive. This can happen when a car is loaned to a person who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, unlicensed, underage, inexperienced, elderly, ill or has a known history of reckless driving. If the owner of the car is aware that the person driving should not be trusted to drive responsibly, that person can be responsible for damages.
Negligent entrustment can also apply to the parents of teenage drivers. It is possible for parents to be held responsible for a car accident caused by one of their children. If a parent knows the teen’s inexperience and immaturity can make him or her unfit to drive responsibly, but lets the licensed teen drive the family car anyway, then the parents may be liable for damages in the event of an accident.