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Understanding the doctrine of negligent entrustment

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2017 | Car Accidents

Every year, countless new drivers take to the roads in Lake Charles. While most welcome these new motorists to the road, they likely also understand that new drivers often pose an increased risk for being involved in accidents. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2013, despite the fact that teens ages 15-19 only constituted seven percent of the total population in the U.S., they accounted for 11 percent of the total costs for all car accident injuries.

When people are injured in accidents with teen drivers, their expenses may go far beyond the benefits offered by theirs and other driver’s insurance. This may place them in the position of needed to seek compensation from the teens responsible for their accidents. Yet the odds are that the teen drivers involved lack the resources to help them cover their accident costs. In such a case, can one then attempt to hold the teen’s parents liable?

The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment assigns liability (in the case of car accidents) to the owners of vehicles who entrusted them to drivers they knew to be irresponsible. According to case rulings shared by the First Circuit Court of Appeals of Louisiana, the state’s Supreme Court has ruled that in order for negligent entrustment to apply to a case, it must be proven that the owner must have either known or should have known that the one he or she lent his or her vehicle to was incompetent to drive.

If a parent knew from past experience or evidence (i.e., past accidents, prior moving violations) that his or her teen was not a competent driver, yet lent the teen his or her vehicle anyway, then any accident victims injured by the teen may be able to hold him or her responsible.