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What is negligent entrustment?

The stress and worry that comes from an auto accident case are often tempered by the expectation that your expenses will be covered by the driver who was responsible for the collision. Yet what is the driver that hit you in Annapolis was driving a vehicle that did not belong to them? Worse yet, what if said driver had a history of poor driving behavior and never should have been entrusted with a vehicle in the first place. Your frustration with the one who loaned the driver that caused your accident their vehicle is understandable; the question is whether or not that action equates to liability. 

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows you to hold a vehicle owner responsible for any damages caused by one to whom they allowed to their car, truck or SUV. Yet that does not necessarily mean that any incident in which a loaned vehicle was involved in an accident automatically assigns liability to the vehicle’s owner; rather, certain conditions must be met in order to cite negligent entrustment in your case. 

Locally, those conditions have been established through state court rulings. Specifically, the Maryland Special Appeals Court has stated “(o)ne who supplies directly or through a third person a chattel for the use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience, or otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical harm to himself and others whom the supplier should expect to share in or be endangered by its use, is subject to liability for physical harm resulting to them.” Thus, the vehicle owner must know (or reasonably expect) the driver to pose a risk to others if they are to be deemed liable in your case. 

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