In some situations, an individual who was not driving or even present in the vehicle at the time of the crash, may be held responsible for the accident.
Usually when a car accident occurs, determining which driver is at fault is the key issue. If either or both drivers did not exercise reasonable care while driving, they can be held liable for any damages that result from the accident.
Although this is usually the case, in some situations, an individual who was not driving or even present in the vehicle at the time of the crash, may be held responsible for the accident.
Accidents Caused by an Employee Driver
If an employee is driving to perform job duties and an accident occurs, an employer may be held responsible if the driver was negligent. For example, if an employee violates a traffic law while driving the company car during work hours, an employer may be held responsible for damages caused by the employee. This is because the vehicle is being used to perform a job.
It is important to note, however, that if an employee uses the company vehicle on the weekend, or any other time they are not working, the employer will usually not be held responsible for any negligence on the part of the driver.
Letting Someone Drive Your Car
Depending on what state you live in, the owner of a car may be held responsible for the negligent driving of someone else if they gave them permission to drive their car. In these states, the moment you give someone permission to drive your car, you are responsible for their actions.
Similarly, if you knowingly allow an incompetent or reckless driver to operate your vehicle, you may be held liable for injuries and damages that result from an accident. This is known an negligent entrustment. In such a case, the plaintiff would need to be able to prove that the owner of the car was aware, or should have been aware, that the individual was an unfit driver at the time they gave them permission to drive the vehicle. Individuals who are unfit to operate a vehicle would include intoxicated drivers, unlicensed or underage drivers, individuals with health conditions that affect their ability to safely operate a vehicle, or a driver who has a history of driving recklessly.
Allowing Children to Drive the Car
Obviously, under negligent entrustment, a parent could be held responsible for any damages caused by an underage or inexperienced child driving their car. Additionally, in some states, when parents buy a car for general family use, whoever owns the vehicle can be held liable for the negligent actions of any family member driving the car.
If you have been involved in a car accident in the state of Missouri due to the negligence of another driver, you will benefit from discussing your case with a qualified Missouri Car Accident Lawyer.
To speak with an attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. call us today at (314) 361-4242 or fill out our Online Case Evaluation Form. We can evaluate your case for free and help you determine what the best course of action will be moving forward.