Negligent Entrustment Explained

On behalf of The Berger Firm Feb. 15, 2019

Whether one is involved in a high-speed collision or a simple fender-bender in Covington, the expenses that can result from a car accident can quickly become enormous. In some cases, one’s financial liabilities arising from an accident may exceed insurance coverage limits. In such a case, those facing such expenses may be left with little choice but to take legal action against those that caused their accidents. Yet what if the responsible party was a teen driver?

Recovering compensation from a teen might be next to impossible given the likelihood that such a party has limited financial resources. However, one might be able to hold whoever allowed a teen to drive their vehicle liable through the legal principle of negligent entrustment. Section 186.590(3) of Kentucky’s Revised Statutes says that any vehicle owner who entrusts their vehicle to a driver under the age of 18 can be held liable for any damages the teen driver’s negligent actions may cause. The reason for this law is the assumption that vehicle owners should know that teen drivers are more likely to drive recklessly.

Statistics seem to reinforce this point. According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers under the age of 20 are three times more likely to be involved in car accidents than those who are older. This may be attributed to the fact that the collective inexperience of teen drivers makes them more likely to engage in potentially dangerous driving behaviors such as:

  • Speeding

  • Drinking and driving

  • Driving in the late night or early morning hours

Kentucky’s negligent entrustment statute applies to both a teen’s parents or any adult who allows them to access to a vehicle. One must show, however, that the teen was driving recklessly or carelessly when the accident occurred for it to apply.