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What is negligent entrustment?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

A car accident in Minnesota can leave you facing a mountain of expenses from medical bills to vehicle repair costs. Your hope is that compensation from insurance coverage will help to cover these costs. Yet depending on the severity of your accident, even insurance compensation may not provide you with all of the funds you need. 

If that proves to be the case, you may have little choice but to seek compensation from the driver that hit you. Yet if you discover that they were not driving their own vehicle, that may serve as an indication as to their ability to provide you with compensation. Yet what about the person who loaned them the vehicle? 

Assigning third party liability for a car accident

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows you to assign liability for a car accident to the owner of the vehicle that caused the accident even if they were not the one driving it. The general purpose of this principle is to place an additional degree of accountability on vehicle owners to prompt them to take more care in determining who they should loan their vehicles to. 

Citing negligent entrustment in your car accident case

Yet simply because the driver that hit you was not driving their own vehicle does not necessarily mean that negligent entrustment applies to your case. Instead, it must meet a set of criteria. Minnesota has adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts in defining its negligent entrustment standard. This establishes the requirement that the vehicle must have known (or had reason to know) that the person that they loaned their vehicle to was likely to cause an accident with it due to their negligence, inexperience or incompetence. This would exclude any cases where the vehicle owner was not aware of the driver’s driving history.