Georgia law prohibits people from loaning a vehicle to someone whom the vehicle owner knows is an incompetent or unsafe driver. Lawsuits and claims related to this area law are known as negligent entrustment actions.
Georgia law, as well as the law of other states, prohibit people from loaning a vehicle to someone whom the vehicle owners knows (or should know) to be an unsafe or incompetent driver. These types of cases are known as negligent entrustment claims. These accidents happen when a person entrusts a vehicle to someone who should not be driving. It could be the vehicle of an employer, friend, family member, or anyone else who entrusted the car or truck to the at-fault driver.
People might be unsafe under Georgia law due to a history of reckless driving, traffic infractions, or previous/numerous vehicle accidents that establish a negligent driving pattern. People might be legally incompetent under Georgia law because they are too young to drive, have too little experience, have a physical or mental impairment, or have no driver’s license at all. A person without a driver’s license is always legally incompetent to drive under Georgia law just as a person without a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is legally incompetent to drive specific commercial vehicles in the United States. For example, someone who entrusts another to drive a vehicle who is intoxicated can be found liable for negligent entrustment if an accident occurs causing injuries to another while that intoxicated person is driving the vehicle. An injured person can potentially have a claim not only against the careless or reckless driver but also against the person who negligently entrusted the vehicle to them.
If a person injured in a vehicle accident is considering a negligent entrustment lawsuit in Georgia, there are four legal elements that must be met. These elements include:
- The at-fault driver was in control of the vehicle;
- The at-fault driver was unfit or incompetent to drive;
- The owner of the vehicle knew or should have known that the at-fault driver was unfit or incompetent; and
- The at-fault driver caused the crash and resulting injuries.
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