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Negligent Entrustment

NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT

The act of leaving an object, such as an automobile or firearm, with another whom the lender knows or should know could use the object to harm others due to such factors as youth or inexperience.

Negligent entrustment claims arise when an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver causes damages while driving a motor vehicle owned by someone else. A party injured by such a driver must generally prove five components of this tort: (1) that the owner entrusted the vehicle to the driver; (2) that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless; (3) that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless; (4) that the driver was negligent in the operation of the vehicle; and (5) that the driver's negligence resulted in damages (Amaya v. Potter, 94 S.W.3d 856 [Tex. App. 2002]).

If a plaintiff proves these elements, an owner may be liable for the full amount of damages caused by the driver. In some instances, the plaintiff may also recover punitive damages from the owner, particularly if the owner himself acted recklessly in entrusting the vehicle to the driver (Allstate Ins. Co. v. Wade, 579 S.E.2d 180 [Va. 2003]).

further readings

Kionka, Edward J. 1999. Torts in a Nutshell. 3d ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group.

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