In catastrophic injury cases, especially those involving larger companies, there is often more than one defendant that needs to be considered liable for a victim’s injuries. It is common for a good personal injury attorney to use multiple causes of action to make sure that all responsible parties are held accountable for negligence.
Truck Accident Involves Driver With a History
A good example of suing all responsible parties is a recent suit that was filed involving an accident that occurred in Howard County. The accident, involving a commercial truck, caused horrific injuries. A father suffered permanent brain injury and his 7-year old son lost his leg and also sustained permanent brain injury. They were injured when their car, stopped at a traffic signal, was rear ended by the defendant, driving a Ford F-350.
It is pretty clear that the driver in this case was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, but were there other parties that were also responsible?
It turns out that the truck driver had a long history of driving mishaps. The victims allege that the driver had pleaded guilty to negligent driving in the past and had a long history of traffic citations including speeding and driving with an open container of alcohol.
This is where the liability of the driver’s employer comes in.
Because of the driver’s history, the victims are suing his employer for negligent entrustment, a theory that in lay terms means that an employer should have known a driver was dangerous or accident-prone, and that the employer negligently trusted the driver to drive on the open road on behalf of the company.
Proving Negligent Entrustment
Proving negligent entrustment can be difficult, but in some cases a driver’s past history can be an indication that an employer should have known that a driver could be dangerous. This is why most employers who put drivers on the road will do extensive background and driving history checks.
It is important to remember that negligent entrustment is not just for employers and employees. A parent who trusts a child with a vehicle that ends up injuring someone, can also be held liable for negligent entrustment. Someone who allows a friend who may have a bad driving history to borrow his or her car can be liable if the friend causes injury.
Why the Theory is Important
Negligent entrustment can be a valuable tool for injury attorneys, because it allows them to not just sue a driver, but also the company the driver is working for.
An individual driver may have no insurance or no assets to satisfy a judgment, and pay whatever is needed to make victims whole. Many individual drivers may even allow a judgment to be entered against them, knowing that the judgment will never be paid. Making sure that all responsible parties are sued can be the difference between an empty judgment and one that can help accident victims recover from their injuries.
Make sure that you know all the parties who are responsible for your injuries and every legal theory that could assist you in recovery. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.