Is the Owner Still Liable if Someone Else Caused the Accident?
You’re involved in a collision. When you go to gather information from the driver, you learn that he or she was only borrowing the vehicle at the time of crash, but wasn’t listed on the vehicle owner’s insurance policy. Can you still bring a lawsuit against the owner of the vehicle, even if he or she wasn’t present at the time of the wreck? Often, the answer is yes.
The Different Theories for Liability
There are a number of situations where you can name the owner of a vehicle as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, even if he or she wasn’t present at the time of the crash:
- The person driving the vehicle at the time of the crash was listed on your insurance policy—Customarily, when you take out an insurance policy on a motor vehicle, you must list all the persons who will be authorized to drive the vehicle. Because the insurance policy will usually be in your name, when another named person, such as a spouse or child, causes an accident while driving the vehicle, you will be named in any legal action.
- The person who caused the accident was an “agent” of the owner—This situation arises most often with commercial vehicles. A company owns a fleet of vehicles or provides its employees with company cars. The employee, while in the course of his duties, acts carelessly behind the wheel and causes an accident. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, the company/owner of the vehicle will typically be liable for the actions of the employee, its agent.
- You “negligently entrusted” the vehicle to another person—You can be responsible for the negligence of another person who was driving your vehicle under a couple of scenarios:
- You knew that the person you “entrusted” the vehicle to was not qualified or skilled enough to safely drive the vehicle (it may have been an inexperienced driver or someone with a history of reckless or careless driving)
- You knew that the vehicle you allowed someone else to drive was unfit to be on the road or posed any significant safety concerns
Contact the Proven Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we have more than 40 years of experience successfully representing victims of personal injury in Texas. We know how to fully protect your rights when you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident. We are seasoned trial lawyers who can anticipate the tactics of defense counsel and take preemptive measures to help you pursue full and fair compensation for all your losses. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.