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What is negligent entrustment?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2020 | Car Accidents |

Recovering from a car accident in Brainerd can be difficult. You (or members of your family) may have sustained injuries, and you also may have to deal with damages to your vehicle. These can be costly, yet some comfort can come from the assumption that the auto insurance provider of the driver that hit you will cover some of those expenses. Yet oftentimes your costs may be more than what insurance compensation provides, and the issue of coverage may even come into question if you learn that the driver that hit you was not in their own vehicle. 

In such a situation, you may wonder if you can also hold the owner of the vehicle liable for your accident. The law does indeed allow for this, thanks to the legal principle of negligent entrustment. 

Defining negligent entrustment 

The theory of negligent entrustment states that the owner of a vehicle may indeed share in the liability for an accident after allowing another person access to their vehicle. The general purpose of this doctrine is to help ensure that vehicle owners think twice about who they loan their cars out to. 

Negligent entrustment elements in Minnesota 

Many states require that you prove that a vehicle owner loaned their vehicle to a driver who had a poor driving history (and that the owner knew or should have known about that). However, that is not the case in Minnesota. Per Section 169.09 of Minnesota’s Transportation Code, if and when a person drives another’s vehicle with the permission (either express or implied) of the vehicle’s owner, the law considers that person to be an agent of the vehicle owner. As such, the vehicle owner then shares in the liability for that person’s actions, meaning you may then cite negligent entrustment when seeking compensation for your car accident.