Negligent Entrustment in Utah

Posted on May 11, 2020

You may have a lot of things to worry about when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident in Salt Lake City; receiving needed financial assistance from the driver that hit (or their auto insurance provider) should not be one of them. Yet if said driver was not in their own vehicle when your accident occurred, that can complicate matters.

In this very situation, many of our past clients here at Handy & Handy Attorneys at Law discover that the reason the drivers that caused their accidents were not driving their own cars often had something to do with their driving history (they either were new to the road or prior poor driving performance barred them from having their own vehicle). This prompts the question of when you encounter the same scenario, can you hold the owner of the car the driver that collided with drove responsible?

The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment

You can, thanks to a unique legal principle known as negligent entrustment. This states that if a person loans their vehicle to another, and the person they loaned it to subsequently causes an accident, the owner may be legally liable. You should know, however, that simply because the person that hit you was not driving their own car at the time may not necessarily mean that negligent entrustment applies to your case.

Meeting the legal standard

Rather, you must meet the legal standard defined by the state. Per Utah’s Civil Jury Instructions, that standard requires that you prove the following:

  • The owner permitted the driver to use the vehicle
  • The owner knew (or should have known) that the driver was either incompetent, inexperienced or intoxicated
  • The driver was negligent while driving the vehicle
  • That negligence caused your accident

You can find more information on assigning legal responsibility for your car accident by continuing to explore our site.