Every time you take to Salem’s roads and highways in your personal vehicle, there is a chance that you could be involved in an accident. Knowing this, you may tend to be somewhat understanding towards those that cause an accident that you are involved in. Yet if and when it is discovered that the driver that hit you was in another’s vehicle, the issue of who should be liable comes into play. When legal action is required, that scenario can become even murkier. Many have come to us here at Swanson Lathen Prestwich PC in this situation wondering what sort of legal recourse might be available to them. If you share the same concern, you will be happy to know that assigning vicarious liability for your accident is indeed possible. 

This is due to the legal principle of negligent entrustment. Simply put, if a vehicle owner loans their car to one who has proven themselves to be an unsafe or irresponsible driver, they can be held liable for whatever accidents the driver causes. Oregon state law does indeed recognize the validity of negligent entrustment, but only in certain situations. 

To apply negligent entrustment to your auto accident case, you need to prove that the following three elements were present: 

  • That a vehicle was indeed entrusted to a driver under unreasonable circumstances
  • That the driver did indeed cause you harm
  • That the risk of harm that the driver presented was reasonably foreseeable

The main point underlying this principle is that the vehicle owner knowingly entrusts it to another. If the driver that caused your accident did not have permission to use the vehicle, negligent entrustment would not apply to your case. Subtle details of auto accident liability such as this one can be found throughout our site.