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What is negligent entrustment?

Your car accident in Seattle can leave you facing an inordinate amount of unplanned expenses. While you likely do not want to seem as though you are attempting to punish the driver responsible for your collision, circumstances may make it necessary for you to hold them legally liable. Yet what happens when you discover that the car they were driving was not there's, and that the reason they were not in their own vehicle is because their past conduct behind the wheel kept them from being licensed or carrying insurance. Your understanding may quickly turn to anger towards whoever entrusted them with their vehicle. 

The legal principle of negligent entrustment may allow you to extend liability for your accident to the party the loaned the driver their vehicle. Negligent entrustment is based on the assumption that those who loan their vehicles to other drivers should know whether those drivers are competent behind the wheel, and if there are reasons to believe that they are not, then the vehicle owners should not give them their vehicles. If they do so, they assume the responsibility for any accidents and/or damages the drivers cause. 

The negligent entrustment may not apply to every case in which one driving a borrowed car causes an accident. Per rulings issues by Washington state courts, the person loaning a vehicle to another must know (or have reason to believe) that the driver to whom they were entrusting it was reckless, heedless or incompetent, and yet despite having that knowledge, they loaned them the vehicle anyway in order for this principle to apply to your case. Instances were one's car was taken without their permission would not qualify. 

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