While most Georgians know that they can face civil liability if their careless or unsafe driving practices cause a Georgia car accident, few know that under certain circumstances a person can be liable for personal injuries caused in a car accident even though they were no where near either vehicle during the time of the accident.
Although it is most common that the at-fault party in an accident will be one of the drivers, there are other possibilities. When a person, business or public entity permits another to use a vehicle, the individual or entity that entrusts another with a vehicle may be liable for injuries caused in a car crash. If you or a family member is hurt or killed in an Atlanta car accident, it can be very important that all potentially liable parties be identified. Many times the driver may be uninsured or underinsured, so achieving adequate compensation for your injuries may entail looking to other potentially liable parties. Even if the identity of the driver of the other vehicle is not known, there is still the possibility of receiving compensation from your uninsured motorist coverage.
There are a wide range of situations where someone other than the driver may be liable for an Atlanta auto accident. Some examples include:
- Employer: If an employee is involved in an Atlanta auto accident or Georgia auto accident “in the scope” of his or her employment, the employer may be liable. This generally means that the employee is engaged in an errand or task that has some benefit to one’s employer. It does not necessarily matter that the task was undertaken after business hours if it is the type of task the employee is expected to engage in or the employer benefits from the conduct. When an employee causes an auto accident in Atlanta, the employer’s insurance carrier will often try to argue that the employee was actually engaged in personal business (i.e. not in the course of employment).
- Family Member: While Georgia law does not automatically impose liability on a parent for a car accident caused by their child’s negligence (called “vicarious liability”), there are a number of legal theories that may result in such liability. If a vehicle is purchased and maintained for the use and convenience of family members, the parent (owner) may be liable for the negligent driving of one’s child. A parent may also be liable if the parent permits his or her child to use the vehicle despite knowing that their child cannot be trusted to safely drive the car. For example, if a child has a history of traffic violations or car accidents, a parent may be found to be liable based on negligently entrusting their child with the vehicle.
- Lending Your Vehicle: If you permit someone to drive your vehicle that you know or should know is incompetent or unfit to drive safely, you may be liable based on the doctrine of “negligent entrustment.” Common examples of negligent entrustment might include lending your vehicle to a driver who is intoxicated, inexperienced, unlicensed or historically unsafe.
If you or a close family member is involved in an Atlanta auto accident, our experienced Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have helped many people just like you obtain fair compensation for their injuries and loss. Our Georgia auto accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.