Negligent Entrustment in Ohio

July 9, 2014

As Cleveland car accident lawyers, we represent countless clients injured by negligent drivers.  In many of these cases, the negligent driver involved did not actually own the vehicle he was driving.  Of course, the driver can still be held liable for his negligence regardless of whether he owned the vehicle he was driving.  In some circumstances, though, the driver is not the only one liable for his negligence.

Ohio law allows an injured plaintiff to hold a car owner liable for the negligence of a third-party driver if the owner negligently entrusted his vehicle to the driver.  While negligent entrustment can be a complicated and fact-specific issue, here are the basics.  To hold a driver liable in an automobile crash lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant driver’s negligence proximately caused injury to the plaintiff. This is negligent entrustment. If the defendant driver was using another person’s vehicle at the time of the crash, the plaintiff may also hold the vehicle owner liable if the plaintiff can establish all of the above and establish that the vehicle owner knew, or should have known, of the driver’s incompetence, inexperience or reckless tendencies as a driver.

The takeaway from this should be obvious: be careful to whom you lend your vehicle.  Allowing another to drive your vehicle when you know or should know that he or she has been drinking, is unlicensed, or has a history of reckless driving may subject you to legal liability for the driver’s negligence or negligent entrustment.  Whether you are lending a friend your pick-up on moving day or sending someone out on a store run during a summer barbecue, make sure that you only allow competent drivers behind the wheel of your vehicle.

Unfortunately, while you may take these precautions, not everyone will.  If you are loved one have suffered personal injuries or death in a car accident, call the Ohio car accident attorneys at Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA for a free telephone consultation.

Back To Blog