If your car was recently involved in an accident but you were not in the car at the time, you may be surprised to hear that you may still have to pay for the damages that occurred. This will probably seem unfair to you, and you may wonder why this is the case. If you have questions about what the consequences will be after your car was involved in a collision, you must understand when you will likely be personally liable.
There are several situations in which you will likely be liable when your car was involved in an accident. Many of them involve negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment is a common law theory that makes the car owner liable if they trust an incompetent driver to use their car. The following are some of the most common examples of this.
When your minor child is involved in an accident
Under the Family Law Doctrine, parents are held liable when their minor child is involved in a car accident that causes damages when using their car. Parents are held liable regardless of whether the minor is listed on their insurance policy or not. This aims to ensure that parents exercise control and caution before allowing their child to drive.
When you allow a bad driver to use your car
Your car is your responsibility. A car can kill if it is misused, in the same way that a weapon can. You wouldn’t loan a gun to a person that you thought was irresponsible or unstable, and in this way, you should not loan your car to anyone whom you do not think will drive safely. If you do and that person causes damages, it is likely that you will be held liable under the common law theory of negligent entrustment.
When you hire an employee as a driver
If you are a business owner, you may employ people to drive company vehicles. It is your responsibility to only hire competent drivers with adequate experience. If you do not, you will be liable for the damages caused in an accident.
If your car has recently been involved in a collision but you were not the driver, you must take action to establish whether you will be liable due to negligent entrustment.