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Car Accident Questions: What Is Vicarious Liability?

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If you have an auto accident that isn't your fault, then you might expect to make an insurance claim against the other driver. However, things aren't always this simple. In some cases, you can claim against someone other than the original driver.

For example, you might be able to make a vicarious liability claim. How do these claims work and how can you make one?

What Is a Vicarious Liability Claim?

In basic terms, the driver who is at fault for a car accident bears responsibility for its costs unless the accident happened in a no-fault state. The at-fault driver's car insurance covers their liability.

However, in some cases, you can make a vicarious liability claim. Here, you claim costs and compensation from the owner of the vehicle rather than, or in addition to, its driver.

These claims often work on the theory of negligent entrustment. This concept can apply if the owner of a vehicle allows someone who is negligent, or who isn't qualified or capable, to drive their vehicle.

The driver might be fully responsible for the accident. However, the owner might be held responsible for allowing the driver to use the car.

For example, you might be able to make a vicarious liability claim against a parent who allowed their teen to drive the family car. Or, you could claim against the car's owner if they let a friend borrow their car, and the friend didn't have a license.

You can also sometimes make these claims against companies. If an employee was at fault for an accident while they were using a company vehicle for work, then you might have a vicarious liability case.

Can You Make a Vicarious Liability Claim?

You won't necessarily find it easy to work out if you have a viable vicarious liability case. These claims can be complicated.

For example, you might have to show direct evidence that the owner of the vehicle was negligent because the driver wasn't qualified to drive. You might have to prove that the driver had a track record of accidents or traffic problems.

Or, if you claim against an employee in a company vehicle, then you might have to work out if the employee was working at the time of the accident. If they weren't, say if they were on their way to work, then you might not have a claim.

You'll find this process a lot easier if you talk to a car accident lawyer. They have the skills and experience to evaluate your case and guide you through the accident claims process. For more information, contact a local law firm, like Cardone Law Firm.