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Negligent entrustment is a legal doctrine where you may sue a person because they entrusted something to a negligent person.  That person through their negligence caused damages to someone else.

The person who suffered the damages may have a claim not only against the person who actually caused the damages, but also the person who had entrusted that item to them.

Auto Accidents

In the last few years we have seen a growing problem with defendants in auto accidents that do not own the vehicle they were driving.  The insurance carrier on the vehicle tries to deny the claim because their insured was not a party to this action

As you will hear from us quite often, you do not sue an insurance company; you sue a party who may be insured.  Your cause action against the defendant driver is clear.   

If the defendant driver is an excluded driver on the auto policy, it is very unlikely that the insurance company will defend him.  The defendant driver may have their own auto policy.  If it is found that the driver did not have insurance, he may lose his license.  But it is unlikely that this will be discovered until your personal injury lawyer begins the litigation process begins.

Negligent Entrustment

You may also have a cause of action against the owner of the vehicle for Negligent Entrustment.  The owner’s insurance company may then get involved to cover the owner.  To establish Negligent Entrustment, you must show that:

  1. The owner entrusted the automobile;
    2) to a person who was an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver;
    3) who the owner knew or should have known was incompetent or reckless;
    4) the driver was negligent; and
    5) the driver’s negligence proximately caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries.

Conclusion

          When it comes time to file a lawsuit, you need to discover all potential parties.  Next, find each defendant’s insurance carrier or at least make sure that the defendant is not completely judgment proof.  It is key to have the right attorney assist you through this process.