If you’ve been involved in a car accident as one of the drivers, it’s difficult enough to determine who was at fault in the accident. So what happens if your car is involved in an accident, but you aren’t there? A car wreck lawyer will be able to help you navigate the rough legal waters of determining fault in such cases. Generally speaking, the negligent driver involved in an accident will be found at fault for the accident. But if someone was behind the wheel of your car and you weren’t there, you may be found at fault.

Employees

If one of your employees commits a wrongful act while on the clock or performing job duties, you as the employer are held legally responsible. “Vicarious liability” holds that one party can be held legally responsible for the behavior of another if they have a certain established relationship, such as that of employer-employee. This goes for their negligent driving as well, if it occurred on company time in a company car. For example, if they run a red light during work hours and are driving a company vehicle, the damages will be your responsibility as the employer.

Friends

If you have given someone permission to drive your car, in some states, you will be held liable for any act of negligence they commit. Some states require that you have a previously established relationship with the person, such as employer-employee, but other states hold that you take on the liability of their actions behind the wheel as soon as you grant them permission to drive your car.

Children

If your kid gets into an accident in your or the family car, you as the parent will likely be held liable. This is because of negligent entrustment in some states: you are knowingly allowing your child to drive your car despite the fact that they may be inexperienced, reckless, or incompetent, therefore you are claiming liability for the damage that may be caused by their driving. Other states follow a different doctrine, called “family purpose.” This holds that someone, usually a parent, has purchased and maintains a vehicle for general family use, and therefore they claim legal responsibility for any family member driving that car.

Other states also claim that the person who signed a minor’s driver’s license application, most often a parent, will be the legal party responsible for their negligent driving.

Unfit Drivers

By allowing someone to drive your car when you know they may be reckless or incompetent or otherwise unfit to drive, you are assuming liability for their actions. In such a case, the plaintiff will have to prove that you as the car owner were aware that the person who caused the accident by driving your car was somehow unfit for driving.

Many of these cases can be tricky, so you need an experienced car wreck lawyer on your side. If you are located in Nashville or the surrounding areas and have been involved in an accident, or had someone get in an accident while driving your car, give us a call at Mitch Grissim & Associates today.