There are a few ways you can be liable for a car crash when you were not even in the car, let alone driving it. Surprised? Well, buckle up and keep reading.
Have you loaned your car out to a friend or neighbor recently? In some states, you may be liable if anyone who is driving your car with your permission gets in an accident. Yes, you may be legally liable for their crazy driving. Did I mention this is true if you loan your car to your kids too? It is.
In other states, you may not be tagged with damages simply for lending out your car, but you may be liable if the injured party can prove you knew (or should have known) you were entrusting your car to an incompetent driver. An incompetent driver isn’t just that Ipod listening, Iphone texting kid who cut you off on the freeway on your way to work. Incompetency encompasses underage drivers, inexperienced drivers, intoxicated drivers, drivers prone to an illness that could impair driving (like epilepsy), elderly drivers, and previously reckless drivers.
So think twice before handing over your car keys to your beer buddy, your narcoleptic neighbor, or your bottle-glass-glasses-wearing gramps.
Lastly, Employers, two words: respondeat superior. Latin for “let the master answer.” Don’t get too excited about being called master, because here’s what it means for you—if your employee is performing job duties when he or she negligently crashes into someone else, you may be liable for paying those damages.
In short, Car Owners and Employers, be careful…whether you are on the road or not.