What is the law for negligence of entrustment of a vehicle to a person with no license? 18 Answers as of November 01, 2012

Can you sue if the person that hit your vehicle is not the owner of the vehicle with no license?

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Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc.
Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc. | Frank M. Nunes
Operation and not ownership is what matters when bringing suit against the other driver. The other driver not having a license makes no difference on her actions in hitting you. It may affect whether or not there is insurance to pay your damages though.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/1/2012
John Russo | John Russo
Yes, both the driver and the owner, as long as the owner did not report the vehicle stolen.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 11/1/2012
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
There is a concept called "negligent entrustment." That is, it is negligent to loan a car to someone with a lousy driving record. I assume that if the person had no license, it was probably taken away by the Secretary of State.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/31/2012
Adler Law Group, LLC
Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
You can sue the owner if the use was permissive and the driver even if he has no license.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 10/31/2012
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
If the driver of the vehicle received the permission of the owner to drive the vehicle, then the owner is vicariously liable for the accident.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/31/2012
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    A person can sue the owner of the vehicle even if he or she was not driving the vehicle under certain circumstances. There are several legal theories under which you can sue, including, but not limited to: employment; agency; family purpose doctrine; and negligent entrustment. For the first two, employment and agency, the employer or principal is liable for the acts of their employees or agents. So, if the accident occuring while the person was working then the owner of the vehicle can be sued. The family purpose doctrine applies, generally, to family members lending out their vehicle to family members for "family purposes." The last, which you mention in your Question, is negligent entrustment. An owner of a vehicle can be sued and be held liable for lending out his or her vehicle if you can prove the following: (1) that the owner permitted the unlicensed driver to drive his or her vehicle; (2) that, at the time the owner permitted the unlicensed driver to drive the vehicle, the owner either knew, or in the exercise of reasonably care should have known, that the unlicensed driver was so inexperienced, incompetent, etc. that he or she was unable to operate the vehicle properly; and (3) that the unlicensed driver's negligence caused the accident. The issue posed in your Question is whether the owner knew or should have known that the unlicensed driver was unable to drive the vehicle properly. This issue is partially answered if you know why the driver did not have a license. Was it taken away for multiple traffic offenses? Did the person never take the driver's test? If the driver being unlicensed had to do with his or her ability to drive a car safely then you may have a claim against the owner. Relatedly, in almost all vehicle accident lawsuits, you sue the driver and/or the owner of the vehicle; you cannot not sue the insurance company. If the vehicle the unlicensed driver was insured, and the unlicensed driver had permission to drive the vehicle and was not an "excluded" driver under the policy, the owner's insurance policy should pay, up to its limits for any injuries or damages you sustained. A vehicle's insurance is primary; the driver's insurance, if any, is secondary. You may want to discuss your case with an attorney to determine more about your rights and who you can sue. Most automobile accident attorneys offer a free initial consultation so it will not cost you anything to get more information. DISCLAIMER: This response should be considered general in nature, for information purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing legal questions and issues. It is based on the limited information provided and, in some instances, makes certain assumptions. It is intended only for cases involving Nebraska and Nebraska law and is not applicable to any other state or jurisdiction. The author does not warrant the accuracy or validity of the information contained within this response, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions. In addition, this response is not a substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be considered a solicitation for additional legal advice or legal representation. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. You should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction to fully discuss your case. You should be aware that there are Statute of Limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may bring a lawsuit) as well as other requirements and/or limitations that limit the time you have to file any potential claims you may have. This response may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under any and all applicable laws and ethical rules. The listing of any area of practice that the author practices in does not indicate any certification or expertise therein, nor does it represent that the quality of legal services to be performed would be greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. It is merely an indication by the author of areas of law in which he practices. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. Readers are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Graves Law Firm
    Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
    If the driver was driving the car with the permission of the owner/insured, and the driver is not an excluded driver under the policy, there should be coverage whether the driver was licensed or not. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    Negligent entrustment is when a person allows a person whom that person knows should not be driving the vehicle because that driver will not drive properly - i.e. entrusts a vehicle to a drunk driver. Depending on why the person was driving without a license, there may be some theory of negligent entrustment which could be brought against the owner.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP | D. Scott Carlile
    If you knowingly entrusted your vehicle to someone with no license and they then had an accident you are liable for damages resulting from the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. | Christopher A. Bradley, Esq.
    Yes, you can sue the owner for negligent entrustment of his vehicle, meaning he knew or should have known he was entrusting his vehicle to someone not responsible operate the vehicle legally. You should discuss your case with an experience personal injury lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    If the driver has permission of the owner, the owner is liable for what the driver does
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
    Yes. While the claim is normally against the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident, you may also have a claim against the owner who allowed the unlicensed driver to operate his/her auto. You will need to show that the owner of the auto knew the at fault driver was unlicensed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Yes. You can sue the person who was driving. The owner's insurance will likely cover the damage up to the limits of liability coverage, although they may try to deny coverage if there is a clause in the insurance policy against allowing unlicensed drivers to use the vehicle. If there is no insurance coverage, you should have uninsured coverage that will cover damages up to your policy limits. You can sue the owner for negligently entrusting the vehicle to the unlicensed driver if you can show the owner had reason to believe the unlicensed driver was unfit to drive. Not having a license, in of itself, may not be enough to prove this (I would have to do additional legal research on this issue to determine if the courts have addressed whether entrusting a vehicle to an unlicensed driver is enough to establish negligent entrustment).
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC | Paul Schroeder
    The owner of the vehicle is liable, but possibly only up to limits of $15,000/$30,000. Negligent entrustment is a fact specific inquiry, for which you will need to consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Burton Guidry
    Burton Guidry | Burton P. Guidry
    Yes, you have a cause of action if the driver is negligent no matter whether or not he had a licence. It is a question of permittee. As long as the vehicle was known to be in the possession of the driver by the owner vicarious liability can apply. There may be a question of insurance but the facts will govern that.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Yes, you can sue the owner and the operator. The fact that they didn't have a license is not dispositive though. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    The issue is did the person who allowed the unlicensed person drive know they were unlicensed and unsafe.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Yes you can sue the owner of the vehicle for negligent entrustment in the situation you describe.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/31/2012
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