At the David W. Martin Law Group, our South Carolina auto accident attorneys know it is not unusual for friends or family members to lend their vehicles to a trusted party. Whether it is a sibling whose car is in the shop, or a friend who needs to run a quick errand, lending a car to another person may come with some risks. This is especially true if the owner knows the person they are lending their vehicle to has a history of reckless driving or other risky behavior.
If that person is involved in a collision the vehicle’s owner may be held liable for the resulting injuries or damages that occur. The statute behind this liability is called Negligent Entrustment.
In South Carolina, Negligent Entrustment is “[t]he act of leaving a dangerous article (like a gun or car) with a person who the lender knows, or should know, is likely to use it in an unreasonably risky manner.”
The question is, how does the injured party prove that is true? We have answers.
How Can an Injury Victim Prove the Vehicle’s Owner is Liable for the Crash and Its Damages?
When a traffic collision occurs in South Carolina, the drivers must exchange information — including driver’s licenses, registrations, and insurance information — at the scene of the crash. When the liable driver’s information does not match the vehicle’s credentials, the injured party may immediately start worrying about who is technically liable for his or her damages.
A South Carolina injury victim must prove multiple factors are true to hold the vehicle’s owner liable for the crash using the Negligent Entrustment statute.
Those factors include:
- The entrusted driver was incompetent, inexperienced, impaired, or reckless.
- The owner of the vehicle knew or had reason to know the driver’s condition.
- The vehicle owner allowed the driver to borrow the car.
- Allowing the individual to borrow the vehicle created a risk of harm to others.
- The injuries and/or damages were caused by the Negligent Entrusted driver and, by extension, the vehicle’s owner.
While the legal threshold for proving Negligent Entrustment may sound complicated, the facts of these cases can quickly be uncovered by our skilled South Carolina can accident attorneys.
If a vehicle owner lends his or her car to an individual who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol — or who has a history of drunk or reckless driving — there is an inherent risk that he or she may get behind the wheel and cause an accident. The same is true if a vehicle owner lends his or her car to someone who they know has a suspended license for reckless driving, DUI, or other charges.
If you have been injured by someone who was driving another person’s vehicle and are unsure who can be held liable for your damages, we can help.
Call 803-548-2468 or contact us online to learn more about your legal rights and options to pursue the best outcome for your unique case by partnering with our dedicated South Carolina personal injury attorneys at the David W. Martin Law Group today.