A Non-Driver’s Liability for Personal Injuries
In the majority of car accident cases, it’s necessary for an injured victim to prove fault of the other driver in order to obtain compensation for his or her losses. Under negligence theories, if you can establish that the other motorist didn’t use reasonable care in operating the vehicle, you are likely entitled to financial recovery. However, there are other legal theories that may impose liability upon a person who wasn’t even in the car at the time of the accident. As an injured victim, you may seek to pursue a non-driver if you stand a better chance of recovering compensation from him or her – instead of the driver. A Biloxi auto accident attorney can tell you more about your options under the concept of “vicarious” liability.
Mississippi law holds employers liable for the wrongful acts of their employees when committed within the scope of employment. This legal concept applies when an employee operates a motor vehicle negligently while performing job-related tasks. For instance, if the employee is driving a company-owned truck to a work site or for transportation of supplies, the employer may be found liable for injuries caused by the worker’s negligence. If the vehicle is employee-owned, there are exceptions, such as if the worker is coming to or going from the regular place of employment.
Permissive Use of Vehicle
When the owner of a vehicle allows another person to drive it, Mississippi law may consider the car to be in the control of the owner – as if he or she is in the car. The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment may allow you to recover compensation if the owner gives an individual permission to use the vehicle, with the knowledge that the person driving is incompetent. Intoxication, disability, inexperience, and other factors may be used as proof of incompetency.
Use of Vehicle for Family Purpose: When a vehicle owner gives a child under 18 general permission to use it for reasons related to family purposes, the law is similar to permissive use. The owner may be liable for a car accident that’s caused by the child’s negligence.
No “Double Dipping” for Compensation
Keep in mind that that vicarious liability concepts which may allow you to seek compensation from someone other than a driver are limited. You cannot obtain financial recovery from both the driver and the car’s owner.
A Biloxi Car Accident Lawyer Can Advise You on Your Options
In some cases, it may make sense to pursue an individual other than the driver who was at fault in a car accident. If the operator has limited financial resources and his or her insurance won’t cover your losses, you may need to look at other theories of liability to obtain compensation for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can tell you more about your options for financial recovery, and will represent your interests in settlement negotiations or in court. For more information on vicarious liability in car accident cases, please contact the Law Offices of Judy Guice. Our attorneys can answer your questions over the phone or in-person during a free initial consultation at our convenient Biloxi, MS location.