Believe it or not, there are instances when you could be held liable for another person’s driving, even if you were not the person driving the car, or if you were not even in the car at the time of the accident.
Affixing fault after an accident takes place is one of the first jobs of a car accident attorney. The issue of fault is tied directly to seeking compensation for damages and injuries.
Those times when a person is responsible for the driving actions of another person falls under what is known as Vicarious Liability, or imputed negligence. This type of negligence comes about when two people have a pre-existing relationship.
Here are some of the situations when imputed negligence could come into play.
When a child drives their parent’s car.
In many states, parents can be held accountable when they allow their children to drive their car. In this case, the action of negligent entrustment takes place, where one party (the parent) can be held liable because they know the other party (the child) is incompetent, inexperienced or reckless behind the wheel. A parent can also be held liable if they are the ones who sign the minor’s application for a driver’s license. In some states, this is akin to holding them liable for the child’s negligent driving.
When employees drive an employer’s car.
If an employee is driving as part of their job, an employer can be held responsible for the employee’s negligent driving in some cases.
If a person allows an unfit person to use their car.
If you knowingly allow a person to use your car and they are underage, not licensed, intoxicated or have a medical history that puts them at risk, you could be held liable in the case of an accident. This may also extend to lending a vehicle to an elderly driver or someone who has a history of reckless driving.
Choulos, Choulos & Wyle proudly serve clients in San Francisco, Oakland and in cities throughout the Bay Area.