In any car accident, the most important thing is to determine the driver responsible for the accident. Often, one of the drivers is negligent. That means he or she did not use a reasonable caution or care while driving and will be at fault.
However, the law can assign fault to a person who was not even driving or present in the vehicle during the crash. Well, this surprising, but there are situations where this happens. Therefore, the moment you get involved in a car crash, you should consult with an experienced Seattle car accident lawyer to discuss what you should do. Here are the instances where the fault might be assigned to someone else.
When a worker drives the car
Generally, the law holds employers liable for their employees’ wrongful acts committed by a worker while performing their job duties. Reckless or negligent driving isn’t an exception. Note that this law comes under the common theory of ‘imputed negligence’ or ‘vicarious liability.’ When two parties have a relationship, according to this theory, the law can hold one of the parties liable for the misconduct of the other.
When you allow another person to drive your car
Often, car owners are legally liable for negligent or reckless driving by another person using their cars with the vehicle owners consent. In some states, the does not require that the people have a certain relationship like that of an employer-worker. If you allow someone to drive your car, you will be held responsible if things go wayward.
When you allow unfit or an incompetent driver to use your vehicle
The moment you lend your vehicle to an unfit, incompetent, or reckless driver and that person, via his recklessness, incompetence, and negligent driving, causes a crash, you (the vehicle owner) will be held responsible for all the damages and injuries associated with that crash. Thus, you must be careful when choosing people to put in charge of your vehicle. Avoiding lending your car to elderly driver, intoxicated driver, ill driver, previously reckless driver, unlicensed or an underage driver.
When your children drive your vehicle
Parents and guardians are held responsible for their kids’ reckless and negligent driving whenever they let the kids use the family car. If you lend your family car to a minor knowing that the kid is reckless, according to negligent entrustment theory, you will be held liable for the accidents and damages caused by the kid’s driving.
According to the ‘family doctrine,’ when you buy and maintain a vehicle for your general family use, the owner of that car (usually the mother or father) is responsible for the negligent driving by the kids or any other family member. Lastly, if you signed a minor’s driver license application, the law holds you liable for the child’s negligence driving.
If you have been involved in an auto crash or you are held liable for someone’s negligent driving, it’s recommended to seek legal help as soon as you can.