January 29, 2022

A Twist on Negligence

Granado v. Mann exposed yet another legal theory attorneys can explore, negligent entrustment. In this case, Samantha Granado (19) was a passenger in the front seat of a car. The car was driven by Tessa Graves (18), who ran a red light which caused the car to be struck by a newspaper delivery truck. Granado suffered broken ribs, fractured spine, a traumatic brain injury, and required hospitalization and physical therapy. The total amount of medical expenses was $152,000.00. Additionally, Granado still suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairment and depression, which have collectively prevented her from maintaining employment.

Clearly, the passenger did nothing to cause the collision, and her attorney realized that the driver, Graves, was inexperienced and should not have been allowed to drive at night. Essentially, he determined that the parents negligently entrusted the car to their daughter. Thus, the parents are liable for their own negligence, separate from their daughter’s negligence.

Negligent entrustment occurs when the loan of your vehicle is reckless or negligent. This legal theory can be used in several different scenarios: lending a vehicle to drivers who are drugged or visibly intoxicated; lending a vehicle to minors who have their license but don’t have experience in rush hour traffic; nighttime driving or expressway driving; or lending a car to a friend knowing they are using it for racing or some other reckless activity. Merely lending your vehicle to someone, and they get in an accident, does NOT mean you are liable. It will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending upon the circumstances. It also should be noted that the party who negligently entrusted their car to another party may have coverage under their insurance policy, but will then receive a substantial increase in their insurance premiums.

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