Negligent Entrustment Also Applies to a Competent Driver Given a Defective Vehicle

by Jessica S.
(Baltimore, MD)

Even if the driver he entrusts with his vehicle is competent, a vehicle owner may be found liable under negligent entrustment rules if the vehicle itself is defective. The owner of a vehicle has a responsibility to not allow others to operate a vehicle that he knows or should know is defective. Doing so increases the risk of damage and personal injury to innocents.


In order for the vehicle owner to be liable for negligent entrustment of a defective vehicle, he must know or should know of the defect yet entrusted the vehicle to a driver, and the defect is the proximate cause of the accident. For example, if Fred knows that his vehicle has a wobbly back axle yet loans it to Archie and the axle breaks while Archie is driving it, causing him to strike other vehicles, then Fred is liable for resulting damage and personal injury. However, if Archie pulls from a stop sign and is hit by traffic that has the right of way, then there is no negligent entrustment issue as pertains to the defective vehicle.

This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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