If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may have a case against the owner of the car under a legal principle known as negligent entrustment. Under Georgia law, an owner is liable for negligent entrustment if he or she allows someone to use a vehicle despite “actual knowledge” the person is incompetent to drive, either due to “age or inexperience,” “physical or mental condition,” or a “known habit of recklessness.” So, for example, if you allow your unlicensed 15-year-old child to drive your car and she gets into an accident that seriously injures someone, you are liable under negligent entrustment because you knew your child was not of legal driving age and lacked experience.
Brendle v. Templeton
Negligent entrustment is not always so obvious. Here is another illustration from a case currently pending before a federal court in Gainesville, Georgia. A driver fell asleep at the wheel and subsequently got into an accident, injuring the plaintiff. At the time of the accident, the driver was driving his sister’s vehicle, which she allowed him to use.