Negligent Entrustment Explained

Attorney Mark Rufo PC

Perhaps even more frustrating than experiencing a car accident in New Hampshire are all of the administrative hoops you may have to jump through in its aftermath (all of which you must do after suffering through damage to your vehicle and potentially devastating injuries).

Many of our past clients here at Attorney Mark Rufo PC may attest to the fact that such red tape becomes even more difficult to deal with if and when you learn that the driver that hit you was not driving their own vehicle at the time. Upon gaining such information, you might immediately question whether you can hold the person that entrusted then with a vehicle liable.

Vicarious liability due to negligent entrustment

The legal principle of negligent entrustment does indeed allow for that. According to the International Risk Management Institute, negligent entrustment occurs when allows another to operate their own personal vehicle (be that an automobile, boat or airplane) without exercising their due diligence in ensuring that the other is fit to do so. Imposing this added layer of liability stresses the importance of vehicle owners not allowing irresponsible or inexperienced operators to endanger others from the use of their property.

The elements of negligent entrustment in New Hampshire

Yet just because the driver that caused your accident was using another’s vehicle at the time may not mean that negligent entrustment automatically applies to your case. Rather, it must meet the elements established by the state to do so. New Hampshire’s Civil Jury Instructions list these to be:

  • The owner expressly (or by implication) allowing the driver to use the car
  • The owner knowing (or failing to take measures to discover) the driver’s incompetence or inexperience
  • That incompetence or inexperience being the proximate cause of your accident