I lent a friend a car and he crashed
6 attorney answers
Negligent entrustment is a cause of action in tort law that arises where one party (the entrustor) is held liable for negligence because they negligently provided another party (the entrustee) with a dangerous instrumentality, and the entrusted party caused injury to a third party with that instrumentality. The cause of action most frequently arises where one person allows another to drive their automobile.The doctrine of vicarious liability provides that an employer is liable for the torts of an employee under an agency theory, even if the employer did nothing wrong; negligent entrustment, however, requires proof of actual negligence on part of the employer before the injury occurred, when the entrustee was entrusted with the dangerous instrumentality.
People that are listed on your policy enjoy the full benefits of your policy coverages with no restrictions. For those that borrow your car that aren’t listed, they are generally covered as long as you have given them permission to use your car; this is called “Permissive Use” and all policies have some form of, or interpretation of, permissive use. Excluded drivers are never covered nor are un-named drivers who “use the vehicle without a reasonable belief that the person is entitled to do so” (sometimes referred to as “theft”).
Depending on the company you are insured with, interpretations of permissive use can vary dramatically and some insurance carriers are very strict in their enforcement of the rules.
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Agreeing with the above posters, your insurance should defend your interests in this case. Make a claim on your policy if you haven't already.
It is possible that you are released from any direct personal liability though, because you are not related to your friend's brother. You will need a defense lawyer to guide you through that process.
You have a very difficult situation. I suspect that if you have informed your insurance company that your friend's brother did not have permission to use the vehicle, they insurance company may deny coverage as the driver was not a "permissive user." The insurance company may have a duty to defend you in the lawsuit and should provide an attorney for you. If your insurance company provides an attorney for you, I would also suggest consulting with an independent attorney to further protect your own interests. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to discuss your situation with you. You can reach me at 702-823-3333.
When you lend your vehicle to someone else, you are putting them in control, legally known as "permissive use." When that person then uses that control to allow someone else to use the vehicle, you remain liable (although the first permissive user may also be liable). Your insurance company should be protecting your interests, and you need to make sure you follow through with everything your policy requires. If the accident was major, the permissive user's insurance (if he/she had any) may also be liable.
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Report it to your insurance company, and if they won't pay, they will let you know.
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Contact your insurance carrier to report the incident. You should also contact an attorney to review the matter.
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