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Negligent Entrustment

Negligent Entrustment Lawyers in Philadelphia

Involved in an Auto Accident Caused by the Negligent Entrustment of a Vehicle in Pennsylvania? We Can Help.

When a driver causes a car crash and someone suffers an injury as a result, the at-fault party can be required to compensate the victim. According to Pennsylvania law, however, at-fault drivers are not the only individuals who can be held accountable for injuries caused by their actions. This is because under the legal theory of negligent entrustment, a car’s owner can be sued for loaning his or her car to a negligent or reckless driver if that driver caused a car accident.

Request your initial consultation with our firm by dialing (215) 486-0123 today.

Owner Liability in Negligent Entrustment Cases

In Pennsylvania, when car owners lend their vehicles to another driver, they can be held legally responsible for any ensuing accidents.

However, to be found liable, the injured party must establish specific facts, including that:

  • The car’s owner permitted another person to operate the vehicle;
  • The driver was unfit to operate the vehicle;
  • The car’s owner knew or should have known that the driver was not fit to drive;
  • The driver was negligent; and
  • The driver’s negligence caused an accident that resulted in injuries.

Once a plaintiff has established that a car’s owner either expressly or impliedly entrusted the vehicle to the at-fault party, he or she must demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was unfit.

To satisfy the definition of unfit, a driver must usually:

  • Be intoxicated;
  • Unlicensed;
  • Underage;
  • Inexperienced;
  • Elderly;
  • Ill or disabled; or
  • Someone with a record of driving recklessly.

It can sometimes be difficult to establish that an owner knew or should have known that a driver posed an unreasonable risk of harm to others. However, courts will take into consideration the driver’s immediate appearance or conduct at the time of the interaction when determining an owner’s liability. For instance, if a car’s owner witnessed the driver drinking, slurring his or her words or walking unsteadily, he or she would have notice that the driver posed a risk to others and could also be held liable for a victim’s damages.

The courts have consistently stated, though, that having a generalized knowledge of inexperience or previous erratic driving is not enough to impute responsibility to the car’s owner. Similarly, mere knowledge of a child’s reckless disposition will not make a car’s owner liable for an accident caused by his or her child unless there is evidence that the parents had actual knowledge that their child was intoxicated or intended to drive erratically.

How Is Car Insurance Effected?

If car owners purchase no-fault insurance, they may be protected from liability even if they negligently entrusted their vehicle to an incompetent or underage person. This is because liability claims against a driver cannot proceed if he or she had a no-fault insurance policy. Injured parties should be sure to check what type of insurance they have prior to filing a claim.

Notable Case Results

Always Pursing the Best Possible Outcome
  • Motorcycle Accident $35.1 Million
  • Truck Accident $10 Million
  • Bicycle Accident $4.8 Million
  • Truck Accident $4.3 Million
  • Truck Accident $3.3 Million
  • Pedestrian Accident $2.4 Million
  • Car Accident $1.7 Million
  • Car Accident by Drunk Driver $1.4 Million
  • Premises Liability $1.3 Million
  • Assault by Club Employee $1 Million
In the Media

Throughout the years, our firm and our individual attorneys have been recognized in both local and national media for our extensive legal knowledge, experience, and record of success. Our attorneys frequently appear in the media to provide insight and information on various legal matters, including high-profile cases.

Choosing the Right Firm Can Make All the Difference

  • Unrivaled Record of Success
    We have won tens of millions of dollars for injured victims, and have achieved countless "not guilty" verdicts for clients faced with criminal charges.
  • No Challenge too Big
    Our firm has handled some of the biggest cases in country, including representing the President of the United States.
  • Personalized Representation

    We understand that every case is unique. Therefore, we tailor our approach based on the facts of the case and the needs of our client. 

  • Uncompromising Passion
    Our competitive nature is one of our strongest qualities. You can be confident that no other firm will outwork our team.
  • Holistic Approach
    Not only do we want to excel legally for the client, but we also want to make sure we are strengthening their mind, body and spirt.
  • Supporting the Community
    Our team engages in many community events and regularly donates time and resources to many charitable organizations in Philadelphia.
Talk to Our Experienced Team

Home to Philadelphia’s most accomplished attorneys, van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin pairs diverse practice experience with a passion-driven, comprehensive law practice—all for the client’s benefit.