Your hopes for receiving compensation following a car accident in Denton may immediately disappear the moment the driver who caused it reveals they are not driving their own car. In such a scenario, you might wonder what sort of legal recourse is available to you.
Such is the question that many clients have presented to us here at Alagood Cartwright Burke PC. Our answer may come as welcome relief to you: look to the legal principle of negligent entrustment.
Holding vehicle owners accountable
The law recognizes the need for those who own vehicles to be careful in deciding who they allow to use them. To ensure they exercise this care, it assigns an added layer of accountability through negligent entrustment. This simply means that when you experience a car accident caused by one who was not driving their own vehicle, you can hold the vehicle owner liable for your accident expenses.
The elements of negligent entrustment
This is not a blanket policy, however. Every case where an accident involves one who is not in their own vehicle may not justify citing negligent entrustment. Rather, Texas state court rulings require that your case demonstrate the following elements:
- The owner loaned their vehicle to the driver
- The driver was unfit (or lawfully unable) to drive the vehicle
- The owner knew of the driver’s unfitness or inability
- The driver operated the vehicle in a negligent manner
- The driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of your accident
As you can see, these requirements would exclude cases where a person took another’s vehicle without permission.
You can discover more information on proving negligence in a car accident case by continuing to explore our site.