Negligent Entrustment Of A Motor Vehicle

Negligent Entrustment Of A Motor Vehicle

Negligent Entrustment Of A Motor Vehicle In Louisiana 

Automobiles, like firearms, if used improperly in the wrong hands, can cause significant damage. 

One doesn’t have to be driving to be liable for damages in a car accident. Negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle refers to allowing an unfit person to operate a car. The act of negligent entrustment makes the motor vehicle’s owner liable for the driver’s actions. 

What Is Negligent Entrustment Of A Motor Vehicle? 

Negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle is the entrusting of a motor vehicle to someone reckless, inexperienced, or incompetent to use it safely. Negligent entrustment occurs when a vehicle owner knowingly entrusts the car to an unprofessional or incompetent person to drive. 

Louisiana courts have long recognized the tort of negligent entrustment. 

Negligent entrustment in Louisiana is a tort law claim under which a motor vehicle’s owner is liable when they entrust the car to another driver who gets in an accident and causes injuries. The theory behind negligent entrustment is that the entrustor (i.e., the vehicle owner) should be liable for negligence when they allow a third person to drive their car. That person uses the vehicle to cause injuries to another.

Examples of negligent entrustment include:

· Allowing an intoxicated or otherwise impaired driver to get behind the wheel

· Letting an unlicensed driver operate the vehicle

· Lending a car to someone who is not supposed to drive due to a medical condition

· Allowing an older adult who has dementia to drive

· Letting a driver use your vehicle despite their history of reckless driving

Age, lack of experience, a physical or mental impairment, and a known history of reckless driving are reasons that can deem an individual unfit to drive safely. 

Employer’s Liability 

In Louisiana, a plaintiff can now seek to recover damages from an at-fault driver’s employer under dual theories of liability:

· Vicarious liability under the doctrine of “respondeat superior for the employee-driver’s negligent operation of a commercial vehicle and

· Direct liability for the employer’s independent negligence in hiring, training, and supervising employees. 

Under the stipulation rule, if an employer assumes vicarious liability for their employee’s negligence, the plaintiff may not pursue additional theories of liability against the employer. The Louisiana Supreme Court now allows direct negligence claims against employers.  

Parent’s Liability

In Louisiana, parents are legally liable for their children’s car wrecks if they know their child is unfit or unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. Examples of negligent entrustment by parents include giving their child permission to drive without a license, allowing the child to get in the driver’s seat knowing that their child was reckless, incompetent, or inexperienced in certain conditions and situations, and allowing children under the influence of drugs or alcohol to operate a vehicle. 

Parents often exclude their young children to obtain a cheaper insurance premium. Courts have determined that insurance companies must reimburse for the injuries caused by the insured’s children even if parents do not include them as drivers in the insurance policy.

Proving Negligent Entrustment 

A negligent entrustment lawsuit may arise when an employer allows an employee to use a vehicle while knowing that the use of the vehicle by such a person creates a risk of harm to others. The focus of negligent entrustment lawsuits is primarily on the employer and the policies and practices in place or not in place at that business.

Negligent entrustment arises when a business allows an employee with a poor driving history to drive on the business’s behalf. Poor driving history could include moving violations or accidents a driver was responsible for causing.

To file for damages under the doctrine of Negligent Entrustment, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered harm because the defendant negligently permitted a driver to use their vehicle. To establish liability, the plaintiff must prove that the driver was negligent in operating the car and the defendant owned the vehicle driven by the driver or had possession of the vehicle used by the driver with the owner’s permission. The defendant knew or should have known that the driver was incompetent or unfit to drive the vehicle. Despite the knowledge, the defendant permitted the driver to operate and that the driver’s incompetence or unfitness to drive caused harm to the plaintiff.

Contact A Louisiana Negligent Entrustment Attorney Today 

To prove that the employer knew or should have known of the driver’s incompetence, the experienced Louisiana motor vehicle accident lawyers at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers will review all pertinent employment records of the driver. 

For over twenty-five years, Louisiana personal injury attorney Bart Bernard has offered astute legal representation and invaluable guidance to victims through the tumultuous fallout of their accidents to recover the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident due to negligent entrustment from a business, employer, or company, contact our Louisiana personal injury law firm today for a free consultation to see if we can help you recover compensation for your motor vehicle accident.



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