When you're involved in a car accident in Missouri or Kansas that wasn't your fault, you could be surprised to learn the driver who caused the crash isn't the vehicle owner. They're still responsible for paying the injury compensation you deserve.
Still, you might also be able to hold the car’s owner liable for lending their vehicle to the at-fault motorist. This is called negligent entrustment.
In both Kansas and Missouri, individuals have a duty only to let others who are safe drivers use their vehicles. To prove a claim of negligent entrustment, a victim needs to show the following:
- The driver who caused the accident had actual or implied consent of the car's owner to use the vehicle.
- The owner knew or should have known that giving the motorist permission created an unsafe risk of harm to others because they weren't capable of safely operating the vehicle.
- The negligent entrustment of the car was the cause of the collision and the victim’s injuries.
What Is Considered Negligent Entrustment?
Whether you have a claim of negligent entrustment against the vehicle owner depends on the specific facts in your case. However, here are examples when this legal doctrine can apply:
- The driver is intoxicated.
- They don't have a valid driver’s license.
- They're too young to drive.
- When a senior citizen driver has compromised mental or physical capabilities that prohibit the operation of a vehicle.
- Someone who is ill or under the influence of medication that affects their ability to drive safely.
- The driver has caused other accidents or has many traffic tickets.
- The owner knew their vehicle has a safety defect that made it unsafe to drive but lent it to someone anyway.
Why Is Negligent Entrustment Important to Your Case?
In any car accident case, it's crucial to file a claim with the insurance carriers for all potentially liable parties. How does this help you?
The negligent driver might not have insurance. Or, there might be coverage, but the policy is insufficient to support a justifiable settlement. If the evidence points to shared liability by the vehicle's owner, you increase the likelihood of being fully compensated for your injuries.
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