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Vicarious liability may apply to car owner after accident

Vicarious liability and negligent entrustment are concepts that sometimes comes into play in Colorado accident cases. They may be especially important because they may apply where one person lends a vehicle to another or where a person is hired to drive a vehicle on behalf of a company or individual.

In a situation where one person loans his or her car to another and the car is involved in a crash, the owner of the car could be liable for damages even though someone else was driving. In some cases parents might be held liable for damages caused by minor children driving a family vehicle.

An employer who hires someone else to drive a vehicle a company's behalf may have liability under theories of respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Typically, these theories of liability apply to car accidents that happen while the employee is acting within the scope of employment. They may not be available in cases where the employee was engaged in personal business at the time of the crash.

For example, in a case where an employee is in an accident while driving a delivery truck to the site of a delivery, vicarious liability may apply. If the employee was driving the delivery truck to go to a mall to go shopping for personal reasons when the crash occurred, vicarious liability may not be an effective argument for the plaintiff.

In a case where an accident occurs due to a defect in the vehicle, the vehicle's manufacturer may be liable for damages based on a product liability theory. Individuals who have been injured in auto accidents may be entitled to recover for medical expenses, lost wages or other damages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may be able to help injured parties by examining the facts of the case and identifying potential defendants.

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