What is the standard for negligent entrustment in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Personal Injury |

The frustrations that often accompany a car accident in Charlotte are often maddening. You have to worry about recovering from any injuries you sustained (not to mention being able to afford the expenses that come along with them), and about the damages caused to your vehicle.

The one measure of comfort you may feel is knowing that you can seek compensation from the driver that hit you. That comfort may quickly disappear if and when you discover that they were not driving their own vehicle at the time. Auto insurance may not extend coverage for a car accident caused by one not specifically listed in a policy, and the fact that the driver was not in their own car may be an indication of their financial resources (or lack thereof).

Understanding negligent entrustment

This prompts the question of whether you can hold the owner of the vehicle responsible for the driver’s actions. You can, thanks to the legal principle of negligent entrustment. This doctrine assigns vicarious liability to vehicle owners who did not exercise caution in understanding who they loaned their vehicles to.

Meeting the standard of negligent entrustment

Yet simply because the driver that caused your accident was not driving their own vehicle does not necessarily mean that negligent entrustment may apply to your case. Indeed, local state court rulings have set the standard for citing negligent entrustment in a car accident case. It states that if a vehicle owner knew (or through the exercise of reasonable caution, should known) that the person they loaned their vehicle to was likely to cause damages or injury due to incompetence or inexperience, the vehicle owner shares responsibility for any accidents the driver causes.

The Importance Of A Local Attorney