Can a Car Owner be Sued for Another Driver's Accident?
Simply put Yes. In most cases it is the at-fault driver who is responsible for the accident but in some cases the owner can be held liable as well. If you were injured and the driver who caused the accident says that the car is not their’s you should call our attorneys as soon as you can. This situation may be confusing for you. Our Houston car accident attorney will clear up that confusion and give you free advice. We have handled many of these cases before and a simple call to our firm can make a world of difference.
How is Liability Determined in These Cases?
When you give someone else the keys to your vehicle, they are a permissive driver and are covered under your auto insurance policy unless they are specifically excluded. The same rule applies to businesses. If a person is driving a company car and injures you in an accident, the businesses’ auto insurance is responsible.
If the owner of the vehicle does not have enough insurance to cover your damages, you may be able to file a claim against the driver’s insurance company as a secondary payer. For this reason, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who can evaluate all available sources of insurance.
What to do If the Other Driver does not Own the Car
If you are injured in an accident and you find out the other driver is not the owner it is no different than if they did own the car. If you can, get their name, driver’s license and license plate number. If you are unable to do this try and get another person who was in the car with you to do it or a witness. Also try and get photographs of the scene and damage to the vehicles, this will help you down the road when your claim is filed.
If it is a serious accident the police will be involved and you can get the crash report from them. The crash report will include important details of how the crash happened, who was at fault and the names of the people and description of the cars involved. Our accident attorneys can help you with your claim and we can also ensure you get the medical treatment you need to recover. Contact us for a free consultation on your case 713-221-6800.
The Owner May be Liable for Your Injuries
In Texas, the law of negligent entrustment allows one person to be held liable for the negligent actions of another if they have negligently given that person the means that caused the injury such as in a car accident.
For example, if somebody in Houston loans their car to a person who they know to be:
- an intoxicated driver
- under-age driver or
- simply someone without a license
they can be held liable if the driver acts negligently causing a car accident and injuring or killing somebody.
Our lawyers handle these types of cases.
If you or a loved one has been injured by somebody who was given a car, motorcycle, boat or other equipment by another, contact the car accident lawyers at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. today to discuss your options.
When we help somebody who has been the victim of a drunk or negligent driver, we investigate to determine if the perpetrator was given the car by somebody else.
If that third party knew that the driver was impaired, has a history of accidents or traffic violations, drunk or just a bad driver, he or she should not have handed over the keys.
They may also be liable for the damages and injuries caused by the wreck.
What is Negligent Entrustment and How Prove It?
A negligent entrustment injury case can arise in many circumstances under Texas law including somebody who:
- Knowingly allows a bad driver to use their car resulting in a car accident. For instance, if somebody loans their car to a driver who has multiple tickets or accidents on their record, they might be responsible for their accident.
- Allows a drunk driver to use their car. It is irresponsible for someone to allow an intoxicated person to drive their car. Such a person deserves to be held liable for any accident caused by the drunk
- Puts an untrained or poorly trained or inexperienced person behind the wheel of a truck causing an accident. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t allow an untrained person use specialized equipment such as an 18 wheeler big rig.
- Gives somebody machinery when they have not properly trained on using it such as a forklift or bulldozer.
- Loans their motorcycle to a bad driver who causes a wreck.
- Negligently permits another to operate equipment causing an industrial accident.
- Lets a drunk or untrained person operate a boat. Just like with the circumstance involving a car, you should not let a drunk operate your boat. It is just as dangerous and will subject you to liability for an injuries or damages caused by an accident.
Family Purpose Doctrine in Texas
The Family Purpose Doctrine is a rule in Texas, it states that the owner of a car is liable for damages caused by another family member. So if a father who owns a car allows their son or daughter to drive their car and they cause a serious accident the owner, the father in this case would be liable for the damages. Even if the father did not give permission to the family member they would still be liable.
These types of injury cases can be complex and the last thing you want to do in this situation is discuss your case with an insurance adjuster. You need an experienced attorney handling your case. Contact the attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., to get free advice on your accident. We handle these types of cases all the time so call us today 713-221-6800.