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Vicarious liability when a car is loaned to another driver

In Connecticut, a car's owner may be held responsible for injuries caused in a car accident even if the owner was not driving the vehicle. In cases in which a vehicle's owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to another person who the owner knew to be a bad driver, liability may stand.

A common legal theory that may be applied is what is known as the family car doctrine. Under this principle, the parents of a teenager who causes a car accident, for example, may be held liable for allowing the teenager to drive the vehicle. Similarly, employers of those who drive a company while on the job may be held liable for the accidents caused by their employees under the common law principle of respondeat superior.

The employer's vicarious liability for accidents caused by workers may stand if the employee was acting in the course of his or her employment at the time. If the employee was instead on an unauthorized trip, liability will likely not be attached to the employer. In the event that people have either entrusted their vehicle to a known bad driver, a teenager or have had an employee cause an accident, they may be named as defendants to a lawsuit along with the driver who caused the accident.

Automobile accidents injure many people every year in Connecticut, and the laws allowing holding owners responsible are in place to ensure compensation. A person who is injured in a car accident when the person driving was not the vehicle's owner may thus want to consider naming both the car's owner and the driver as defendants in a personal injury lawsuit. Doing so may help the injured plaintiff by providing additional sources for recovery. A personal injury attorney can be of assistance in this regard.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability and Negligent Entrustment", accessed on March 3, 2015

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