Driver’s Negligence Imputed: Car Accident Lawyer
Can a driver’s negligence be imputed to the owner?
Yes, but there are limits and legal constraints which we will discuss. However, consider an example so you understand the general idea. For example, an owner lends car to driver A; Driver A drives his car negligently and crashes his car into Driver B. Driver B contacts a car accident lawyer and sues the owner. In certain situations this is actually allowed: the owner can actually be sued even though they weren’t driving.
Where does the law come from?
The law comes from the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.
The Doctrine Provides that “one who authorizes and permits an instrumentality that is peculiarly dangerous in its operation to be used by other on the public highway, is liable in damages for injuries to 3rd persons caused by the negligent operation of such instrumentality on the highway by so authorized by the owner.”
In other words, the owner can be responsible even though he wasn’t driving!
What is required for a driver’s negligence be imputed to the owner of the vehicle?
Where the third party is suing the owner. For example, the scenario above shows Driver B suing the owner directly. However, where the owner sues the Driver, the driver’s negligence may not be imputed to the owner. For example, in the above example, if Driver A were to sue the owner, his own negligence can’t be imputed to the owner of the car.
Does this area of law ever make it to a car accident lawyer?
Sometimes but not often, the driver’s negligence is usually the basis for the suit. Traditionally the driver and the insurance company are the ones who are sued. However, there are instances where the owner of the vehicle actually is sued.