When a driver or passenger of a vehicle that gets hit by another vehicle exit the vehicle, they typically expect for the at-fault driver (the driver that was responsible for causing the accident) to be the car owner. However, due to the fact that there are people who use another family member’s for whatever reason (such as young drivers who do not own a vehicle yet), it is not uncommon for the driver who caused the accident to not be the owner of the vehicle. In fact, the vehicle owner may be in another city, or even state, when the accident occurred. Therefore, is it possible for the owner of the vehicle to be given liability for the car accident, even if the accident was not caused by them? The short answer: yes.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car wreck by a driver who was not licensed or insured, you might still be able to make a claim for compensation with the aid of an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your specific auto accident, you might be able to bring a claim against the owner of the vehicle which caused your crash, even if someone else was driving.
Negligent Entrustment of a Motor Vehicle
Under Texas law, injury victims are allowed to make a claim against an owner who permitted an unlicensed, incompetent or reckless driver to drive their vehicle. Although this is not a very common scenario, it can prove invaluable in winning full and fair compensation in certain situations. For example; a pickup truck crashes into you at an intersection and then flees the scene. You have no way of knowing who the driver was, but you manage to get the license plate in order to track down the owner of the vehicle. Although the owner might deny being the driver at the time of the collision, you can still make a claim against their insurance policy if the person they lent the truck was responsible for the wreck.
In order to bring a claim of negligent entrustment, Texas law requires that you are able to prove who actually owns the vehicle and that it was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident whose negligence proximately caused the crash to occur. You do not need to prove any negligence on behalf of the owner other than that they allowed (or did not object) the driver to use their vehicle.
Negligent entrustment claims allow innocent traffic wreck victims to recover just compensation to cover their medical bills, lost income and other accident-related costs in much the same way as a regular auto collision claim – the only difference is that since the driver does not have an insurance policy you can claim against directly, you are instead pursuing a claim against the insurance of the owner who gave them permission to drive their vehicle. In some cases, it is also possible to recovered additional exemplary damages based on the owner’s gross negligence in entrusting their vehicle to an unsafe driver.
Be Careful With the Insurance Company
Even though an injured victim of a car accident can make a claim against the owner of the vehicle who was used by the at-fault driver, it is important to remember that the insurance company will try to make the claim invalid or will try to remove the liability from the vehicle’s owner. For this reason and others, it would be a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you against the at-fault party’s insurance company. A personal injury attorney can create a strong argument in your favor and will use different tools to prove you were injured as a direct result of the other party’s negligent actions. A sample of the tools used in your favor includes:
Personal injury attorneys can access certain types of evidence and materials that the general public may otherwise not be able to access, such as video footage from a traffic camera, testimony from the police officer that filled out the crash report, and more.
The driving records of the at-fault driver can come to be part of a case. A judge (and/or jury) can determine that a driver who has a long history of speeding, citations, fines, and the like, is more than likely responsible for causing an accident.
Another important piece of information that was briefly mentioned in the section concerning evidence is witness testimony. Testimony and the personal accounts of a police officer, pedestrians, and by-standers can provide the case with the added level of credibility it may need.
Call Today to Speak with an Attorney
There may be compensation available to cover for your medical bills, lost wages (as a result of your temporary or long-term inability to work because of your injuries), physical and emotional pain and suffering, and much more. While insurance companies typically offer compensation to the property damage side of the accident, they may be difficult to work with when it comes down to providing compensation to other areas that may need financial attention and re-imbursement. For more information about negligent entrustment or your legal right to compensation in general, please call the board certified personal injury lawyers at the Anderson Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation on your case. Call toll free at 800-354-6275 or locally at 817-294-1900.