There is quite arguably nothing worse than paying for a mistake, except for paying for someone else’s mistake. If you lend your car out to someone else to drive, you might be putting more than just your car in danger. If you loan your vehicle to someone like a friend, employee, or coworker, and something goes wrong, it might be your responsibility to pay for the damages.
Worse yet, if you lend your car out to someone else and something happens due to the defect of the car’s manufacturer, then you should be aware that you could be liable for any damages or injuries that ensue. There are different types of situations that can put you at risk that you might not even know about.
When you lend your car to someone, make sure that you know what their driving history is. If you let a person with a poor driving past, someone who might not have a license, or someone who has been convicted of a DUI drive your car, then you might be liable if they get into an accident.
A term called “vicarious liability” means that the owner of the vehicle can be named in any suit involving a third party. If you trust a bad driver, you are putting yourself in a very vulnerable position. Due to “owner’s liability,” common law of negligent entrustment can have you paying for the mistakes of others.
Due to something called the “Family Car Doctrine,” family members, like parents, are liable for any accident caused by their children, even if the minor is not on the insurance policy. If you are the parent of a minor, then it is important to understand that the actions of your child are your responsibility. If you are going to hand your keys over to anyone, make sure that they are mature enough to be behind the wheel of the car.
If someone is driving your Glendale company car
If you hire someone and allow them to drive a company car from you in Glendale, then you will be held liable for any accident that is their fault. Because of “respondeat superior” or, translation, “let the master answer,” employers are liable when their employee is in an accident while they are performing the duties of their employer. The rule only applies, however, if the employee is working under the scope of their employment. If they were just running personal errands and were in an accident, then the liability would no longer be the responsibility of their employer.
There are also exclusions to the respondeat superior law. If someone is engaging in criminal activity, then the employer would not be liable for any accident that followed. For example, if a salesperson’s responsibility were to take some clients out for the evening to entertain them and they drink too much, if they are in an accident, the accident would not be the liability of the employer. Although entertaining the clients was within the scope of the employee’s work duties, committing a criminal act would negate the employer’s liability, namely, being convicted of a DUI.
Other extenuating circumstances
There are other extenuating circumstances that permit vicarious liability. One is if a defect of the vehicle was the reason for the car accident. When that is the case, a product liability lawsuit can be filed against the manufacturer to recoup for any damages or injuries. Also, if the accident is the fault of construction or poor road conditions in Glendale, the municipality that is supposed to maintain the road may be held negligent and liable for injuries and damages.
To ensure that you aren’t ever on the hook paying for someone else’s accident, hire employees that have good driving records and never give your keys to someone who isn’t mature enough to handle driving a vehicle. The best way to ensure that you are protected in Glendale is to consult an attorney if you are ever worried about vicarious liability and so that you aren’t left holding the bag when it isn’t your fault or responsibility.