Negligent Entrustment and Negligent Hiring
When there is an accident, suing the person that is directly responsible for the accident—the person or the business which appears to have caused the accident—may make sense. However, there are situations where the responsible party is a party that was not even there, and had no direct hand in the accident.
Negligent Entrustment Cases
One such situation is in a case called negligent entrustment. As the name implies, this is where someone is liable simply for trusting someone with something, or trusting them to do something, that they should not have been trusted with.
This kind of lawsuit often comes to light when people who deliver large items for retail stores commit crimes. The retail store contracts out with third party vendors to do the deliveries. When those vendors get into an accident, or even when they purposely commit crimes, the retail store can be held liable, even though the store didn’t know about the accident or crime and didn’t endorse it.
The theory is that if a company trusts someone else to do its job, it has to trust someone who is responsible. It must take precautions to make sure that the people that are carrying out the company’s duties are not going to injure other people.
People Can be Liable Also
Negligent entrustment doesn’t just apply to companies. People can be liable as well. Imagine leaving a loaded shotgun with a friend or relative who had a known criminal history. When that person injures someone else, you, as the owner of the gun, and the person who trusted the friend or the relative with the gun, can be held liable.
Note that negligent entrustment usually just involves providing that the liable party trusted something to the wrong person—that is, giving access to something to someone who shouldn’t have had access to the item (the gun, or the car, in our examples). Beyond that, the liable party does not have to have done anything wrong.
Similar to negligent entrustment is negligent hiring. When a company exposes the world to an employee, it needs to make sure that employee can and will do their job safely.
Imagine a trucking company that did not conduct background checks on its drivers. It would have no idea that a particular driver has been in multiple accidents, or that the driver may even have a criminal record.
Another example is a school or a daycare, which trusts young children with an employee that may have a history of abuse. If a cursory background check on the employee may have demonstrated a potential problem in the employee’s past, and that background check is not done, the company can potentially be liable to the victim.
Call the Clinton personal injury attorneys at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC, today if you have suffered any type of injury. We can help you identify all parties who may be responsible for your injuries.