What is negligent entrustment?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2019 | Car Accidents, Firm News |

Many in Batesville may joke about having to watch out when a new teenage driver takes to the road, yet the reality is that teens do in fact present a greater risk to others than do experienced motorists. You understand the need to share the road with new drivers (after all, how are they to gain the experience needed in order to overcome the issues green drivers experience?), yet that understanding offers little solace when you are faced with the consequences of a car accident that such a driver caused. Seeking compensation in such a scenario may seem pointless due to the fact that the teen probably has little that they might be able to compensate you with. 

This prompts the question, however, if you might be able to hold their parents responsible. The legal principle of negligent entrustment assigns liability to third parties for entrusting their vehicles to drivers that they know may be more likely to cause an accident. In the case of a teen driver, that likelihood comes from their inexperience (which their parents should understand before letting them use their vehicles). 

The state agrees with this assertion. In a 2003 Mississippi State Supreme Court ruling, the following explanation of negligent entrustment was cited: “One who supplies directly or through a third person a chattel (an item of property) for use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience, or otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical harm to himself and others…is subject to liability for physical harm resulting to them.” 

One note worth mentioning is that this statute may require proof that the parents knew their teen would be driving a car (rather than the teen taking it without permission). 

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