Who Is Liable For Your Accident? More People Than You May Think, Sometimes
When you are in an accident, it is important to determine everybody who may be at fault for your accident. Sometimes that’s obvious—the driver of a car that hit you, is the one at fault. But often there are other people or entities that may be liable, even if they weren’t physically there at the scene of the accident, and even if they weren’t directly involved in the accident.
One situation where this happens is with a legal theory that is known as negligent entrustment.
Negligent entrustment says that someone who “trusts” someone else with a device or object, can be liable, if that device or object causes injury to someone else. The classic example of this is a car.
Imagine that Parent is on the title of a vehicle. Parent allows Child to use the car to make a grocery shopping trip. On the way, Child runs a red light, and causes an accident with you.
Surely, Child is responsible—but Parent may be also, for allowing Child to use the vehicle—for “entrusting” the Child with an object, the car, that can be dangerous.
Cars aren’t the only example of when negligent entrustment may allow a victim to hold owners of objects or things that cause injury, liable. When people allow irresponsible people, or minors, to use golf carts, ATVs, or even guns, and these objects cause someone else injury, the legal owner of those objects can be held liable as well, under negligent entrustment.
Another legal theory where someone not directly involved in the accident can be held liable for damages to a victim, is in vicarious liability. This is where an employer is liable for the acts or omissions of an employee. So long as the employee was acting without the course and scope of employment, the employer can be held liable for whatever the employee does, to cause you injury.
Background Checks and Lack Thereof
Employers also can be liable for what their employees do, when employers don’t do background checks, or when they allow workers to remain on the job, after learning about something in the employee’s background that should be concerning.
So, for example, clearly a daycare worker who harasses a child, is not acting in the course and scope of his or her employment. But if it turns out the day care facility did not conduct a background check on the employee, the facility can still be held liable for the actions of the worker.
Likewise, a truck driving company shouldn’t hire a truck driver with a history of drunk driving, or who may have some other situation that would prevent the driver from being able to operate a truck safely on the roadways. The company can be held liable for the failure to determine whether the truck driver was fit to be driving in the first place.
Call the Knoxville personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today for help determining who may be at fault or who may be liable for your injuries.