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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. How does this relate to “vicarious liability” and you?

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. Then, they later find out shortly after they have left with their vehicle that they got into an accident.

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. Also, make sure if you’re loaning your car out that it is to someone responsible and safe.


Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients.

If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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