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Negligent Entrustment

A person should not allow their vehicle to be driven by someone who is not authorized to drive or does not have a license for the type of class of vehicle to be driven.  Someone who violates this law may be jointly held responsible for any damages caused by the driver’s negligence of driving the vehicle.

Negligence also includes permitting others to use something or engage in an activity that is under control of another when they know that person intends or is likely going to create an unreasonable risk to others. To establish negligent entrustment, a plaintiff must show express or implied entrustment.


Pennsylvania Negligent Entrustment Attorney

If you find yourself trying to decide who will be held responsible for such damages in a personal injury case it is important to speak with an experienced attorney today.  Whether you are the owner of a vehicle involved in the accident, the driver, or a victim you need to know about Pennsylvania’s Negligence Entrustment law that allows injured individuals to file for certain lawsuits against an owner of a vehicle.

The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices have many years of experience representing clients who were injured by someone who improperly loaned their vehicle to a third party who was incompetent or unfit to drive the vehicle. Call Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 today to find out more about your legal options.


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Elements of Negligent Entrustment

For someone to file for damages under the Negligence Entrustment law, the plaintiff must claim that they were harmed because the defendant negligently permitted a driver to use the defendant’s vehicle. To establish this claim, the plaintiff must prove all of the following:

  • (1) the driver was negligent in operating the vehicle;
  • (2) That the defendant owned the vehicle operated by the driver or had possession of the vehicle operated by the driver with the owner’s permission;
  • (3) That the defendant knew or should have known, that the driver was incompetent or unfit to drive the vehicle;
  • (4) That the defendant permitted the driver to drive the vehicle; and
  • (5) That the driver’s incompetence or unfitness to drive was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff.

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Incompetent, Unlicensed or Reckless Drivers

A driver's incompetence or recklessness is determined at the time of the entrustment on a case by case basis. If the owner of the vehicle had knowledge of the person's driving record at the time of the entrustment, such as the person's involvement in at-fault accidents or traffic citations, such evidence may be allowed in court.

Evidence of a driver's condition, state and the situation at the time of the entrustment may include the driver’s levels of intoxication, probability for recklessness and incompetence by the driver's physical or mental incapacitation or any other evidence that shows the driver's lack of judgment or perception to drive a vehicle safely is lacking.


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Types of Negligent Entrustment Claims

Pennsylvania law provides for the following types of negligent entrustment claims:

  • Knowledge Element - an entrustor had knowledge based on previous experience of the entrustee’s inexperienced or reckless behaviors.
  • Negligence Foundation - determines whether the owner of a dangerous device or instrument exercised the same amount of care that an ordinarily individual would exercise under similar circumstances.
  • Negligent Entrustment in the Employment Context - plaintiff will bring this claim against their employer to recover damages that an employee caused. An employer may be held liable for knowing that employee participated in dangerous conduct, or if a dangerous conduct was known to the employer if they would’ve conducted a diligent search. 
  • Evidence- evidence of an individual's character is brought to light that shows why they conducted themselves a certain way in a particular incident.

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Attorney for Negligent Entrustment in Pennsylvania

If you have been involved in an accident where the driver of a car negligently caused the injury of a third party, contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190.

Lawyers have experience representing clients throughout West Chester, Radnor, Plymouth Square, and Malvern, Philadelphia. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (610) 719-3190 to discuss your legal options.

This article was last updated on January 4, 2017.