Negligent entrustment is a legal concept that holds individuals or entities liable for entrusting their vehicle to someone who is unfit to operate it safely. Auto accidents are unfortunately common occurrences on today’s roads, resulting in significant property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. While some accidents are solely the fault of the driver behind the wheel, there are instances where other parties may share responsibility.  In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of negligent entrustment in the context of auto accidents, exploring its definition, elements, examples, and implications.

What is Negligent Entrustment? Negligent Entrustment

Negligent entrustment is a legal doctrine that holds individuals or entities liable for negligently providing someone with a dangerous instrumentality, such as a vehicle, knowing or having reason to know that the person is likely to use it in a manner that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In simpler terms, it means giving someone access to a vehicle when it’s foreseeable that they might cause harm due to their incompetence, recklessness, or incapacity.

Elements of Negligent Entrustment: To establish a claim of negligent entrustment in the context of auto accidents, certain elements must typically be proven:

  1. Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to others not to entrust their vehicle to an unfit driver.
  2. Breach of Duty: It must be shown that the defendant breached this duty by allowing an incompetent or reckless driver to use their vehicle.
  3. Foreseeability: The plaintiff must establish that it was foreseeable to the defendant that entrusting the vehicle to the driver would likely result in harm to others.
  4. Proximate Cause: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligent entrustment was a proximate cause of the auto accident and resulting injuries or damages.
  5. Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered actual damages as a result of the accident.

Examples of Negligent Entrustment: Negligent entrustment can arise in various scenarios involving auto accidents. Here are a few examples:

  1. Allowing an Intoxicated Person to Drive: If a vehicle owner allows an intoxicated individual to drive their car, knowing that the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is therefore unfit to drive safely, they may be held liable for any accidents caused by the impaired driver.
  2. Loaning a Vehicle to an Inexperienced Driver: If a parent lends their sports car to their teenager, knowing that the teenager lacks experience and may engage in reckless driving behaviors, the parent could be held accountable if the teenager causes an accident.
  3. Entrusting a Vehicle to a Known Reckless Driver: If an employer allows an employee with a history of reckless driving to use a company vehicle for work purposes, and the employee subsequently causes an accident due to their reckless behavior, the employer may be held liable for negligent entrustment.

Implications and Legal Ramifications: Negligent entrustment claims can have significant legal and financial implications for the parties involved. If a plaintiff successfully proves negligent entrustment, the defendant may be held liable for damages resulting from the auto accident. These damages may include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses incurred by the plaintiff.

Furthermore, negligent entrustment can extend liability to not only the individual who entrusted the vehicle but also to employers, rental car companies, and other entities that provide vehicles to drivers. As such, it’s essential for vehicle owners and entities to exercise caution and diligence when allowing others to use their vehicles, ensuring that they are competent and responsible drivers.


Negligent entrustment is a legal doctrine that holds individuals and entities accountable for providing a vehicle to someone who is unfit to drive safely. In the context of auto accidents, negligent entrustment claims can arise when a vehicle owner or entity allows an incompetent, reckless, or impaired driver to use their vehicle, resulting in harm to others. By understanding the elements of negligent entrustment and its implications, individuals and entities can take steps to mitigate risks and promote safer driving practices on our roads.  If you find yourself in an automobile accident you should contact us for legal assistance!