Car accidents often result in personal injury lawsuits, but that is not because people are sue-happy; it is because they are left with no other choice to recover damages. But, what most people do not realize is that it is not just the driver who could be held liable. In fact, the owner (whether or not they were driving) could be sued, too.
But, how can you file a lawsuit against the vehicle’s owner if they were not in the vehicle or had nothing to do with the accident?
Owner is Guilty of Negligent Entrustment
Negligent entrustment is a form of negligence that can be applied to an owner when they allow someone to drive their vehicle who is reckless, drunk or unfit to operate the vehicle. As the owner of the vehicle, he or she has a legal duty to only allow safe drivers behind the wheel; therefore, they could be held liable for any injuries or damages even if they were not involved in the accident directly.
For example, a parent can be held liable for an accident their child caused while driving their vehicle; especially if that child drove recklessly or even caused an accident while texting.
Failure to Maintain
Another instance where the owner can be liable is when the owner fails to maintain the vehicle. Similar to negligent entrustment, this occurs when the owner of the vehicle knew there was a defect with the vehicle and refused to fix it. For example, the owner knew the vehicle needed brakes, but did not repair them. When the vehicle failed to brake and caused an accident, the owner is now liable, regardless of who was driving that vehicle.
For Employers: Vicarious Liability
If the driver of the vehicle was an employee working under the direction of an employer, then the employer can also be liable for any injuries or damages. This is especially true if the employee was using the employer’s vehicle.
Speak to a Car Accident Attorney First
If you were injured in a car accident, speak to a car accident attorney about your case. In some instances, the owner of the vehicle can also be held liable, even if they were not driving.
Meet with West Palm Beach car accident attorney at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates today for a free case evaluation. We can tell you right away if you have a case and help identify all parties liable for your injuries.