What is “vicarious liability” and how does it work?

Your car is, well, yours. You’re going to be behind the steering wheel nearly every single time that vehicle goes out on the road. However, there will be moments when someone else is driving your car. Perhaps your teenage son or daughter needs to take the car somewhere with their friends. Or maybe a friend or employee needs to take your car out for an important purpose.

Most of the time, this won’t be a problem. Your friend, family member, or associate will take the car out and return it without issue. However, there are people that loan their car out to their close confidants only to find out shortly after they have left with their vehicle that they got into an accident. And in some of these cases, “vicarious liability” may apply.

Vicarious liability means that you could still be partly liable for the accident even if you weren’t even in the car when the accident happened. Parents can be held liable if their children cause an accident under the “Family Car Doctrine,” or if the friend that you give the car to is known to be a risky or dangerous driver, you could be held liable for any accident they cause under vicarious liability.

These are tricky situations, and if you are being held responsible for an accident under vicarious liability, be sure to take it seriously.

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