Many car accidents in Georgia are just that: accidents. Knowing that, you may look to forgive the actions of the driver that caused your collision (wanting to instead move on and focus on your recovery). Yet the economic element of that recovery may require you to revisit the issue of liability.

It is often at this point that you may discover that the person who caused your accident was not in their own vehicle at the time. That may be due to them not having immediate access to a car due to their poor or reckless driving history. Upon learning this, you may rightly question who would allow such a driver to a vehicle at all.

Assigning third-party liability for accidents

That question might extend to whether you can hold that party partly responsible for your accident. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows you to do that. According to the International Risk Management Institute, negligent entrustment describes the loaning of a potential dangerous chattel (such as a vehicle, watercraft or plane) without the owner exercising appropriate care in understanding the operational capabilities of the person they loaned it to.

Understanding Georgia’s elements of negligent entrustment

Yet simply because the driver that hit you was not in their own vehicle at the time may not mean that negligent entrustment applies to your car accident case. Indeed, you must instead prove that the owner of the vehicle had actual knowledge of a driver’s reckless tendencies and/or inexperience (as opposed to constructive knowledge, meaning they should have known) and that the driver’s recklessness or inexperience led to your car accident. Local state court rulings established this standard. The only exception would be employment cases, where you might argue an employer has an obligation to check a driver’s qualifications before putting them on the road.