Negligent Entrustment

3/11/2015 - Beaufort, SC

Have you ever allowed someone to drive your car? In South Carolina, you may be responsible if that person causes an accident. The legal theory is known as “negligent entrustment” and places responsibility on car owners to use due care when entrusting others with their vehicles. Maybe you have been injured by a drunk driver who was driving someone else’s car. Did they have someone’s permission to drive the car? 

Under the theory of negligent entrustment, “the owner or one in control of the vehicle and responsible for its use who is negligent in entrusting it to another can be held liable for such negligent entrustment.” . Furthermore, “where the claim of negligent entrustment is based on the driver's alleged impairment due to use of alcohol, the elements of the cause of action are: (1) knowledge of, or knowledge imputed to, the owner of the automobile that the driver was either under the influence of intoxicants, addicted to intoxicants, or had the habit of drinking, (2) the owner knew or had imputable knowledge that the driver was likely to drive while intoxicated, and (3) under these circumstances, the owner of the vehicle entrusted it to the driver.

If you are injured in an automobile accident in South Carolina, some questions you may want to ask are, “Who owns the other vehicle and under what circumstances was it entrusted to the negligent driver?” You are unlikely to get this information from the insurance company. Call one of the Beaufort, South Carolina injury attorneys here at Harvey & Battey and put us to work for you.

[1] American Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Passmore, 275 S.C. 618, 274 S.E.2d 416, 418 (1981)

[1] Jackson v. Price, 288 S.C. 377, 342 S.E.2d 628, 631 (Ct. App.1986); Brantley v. Vaughan, 835 F. Supp. 258, 262 (D.S.C. 1993)