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Owners are responsible for their cars even when on loan

It is not unusual for people to lend out their cars to a friend or family members. But many people do not realize this could leave them vulnerable to litigation if that person gets into an accident with their car. This puts the victims of the accidents in somewhat of a legal limbo. What if the driver does not have an auto insurance policy that covers them while they are driving other peoples' cars? What happens if the driver does not have enough money to cover your medical expenses? There are many unique issues that rear their head during these cases.

Luckily, the law provides two ways for you to hold both driver and owner of the vehicle liable. First, you could hold the owner of the vehicle liable under the theory "vicarious liability." This basically means that the owner lent their car to the friend, so that friend is in effect an agent of the owner of the car. So anything that the friend does while an agent for the owner can be imputed to the owner.

Another legal theory available to victims is "negligent entrustment." To establish this claim, you must prove that the owner of the vehicle knew or had reason to know that the friend they were lending their car to was an unsafe driver. In effect, the owner of the car enabled the driver to hit you by giving them the means to do it.

These two theories also apply to lawsuits against commercial vehicle companies, like trucking or taxis. If the company had reason to know the driver was bad at operating a vehicle then obviously the company should be held liable.

If you or a loved one was injured by a driver that does not own the vehicle they were operating, then you may want to consult with a lawyer. These cases are a little more complex than run of the mill auto accident cases, so it may be useful to solicit the assistance of a professional. The attorney could work to help you get a settlement compensatory to expenses.

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