Free Initial Consultation
Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP - Personal Injury Lawyer
Free Initial Consultation

When Friends Should Not Let Friends Drive Their Car

Most everyone has been in a situation where a friend needs to borrow a car to go shopping or borrow a truck to move. Friends are generally willing to help a friend out. That is what friends do. What happens if your friend is involved in an accident while driving a borrowed vehicle?

Insurance coverage and language varies from state-to-state and from one insurance company to another, so it is always important to know what the policy says before loaning a vehicle. Generally, insurance policies have some statement like the following:

The insured person "may include any person with respect to an accident arising out of that person's use of a covered auto with the permission of you or a relative."

So in reading this all that is necessary for the vehicle to be covered by the insured insurance, is the fact that "permission" to drive the vehicle was granted by the owner/insured. What happens when the vehicle is borrowed by a person who has no driver's license or has a history of reckless driving?

Negligent Entrustment

A friend might be making a terrible mistake by letting an unlicensed or reckless friend drive their vehicle. Negligent entrustment is the act of lending a car or other potentially dangerous object, like a gun, to a person who is incompetent, reckless, or unlicensed.

Five elements must be met to show negligent entrustment:

  1. The owner gave permission for the person the drive.
  2. The person had no valid license or had a history of recklessness and incompetence.
  3. The owner knew or should have known the person had no license or a history of recklessness and incompetence.
  4. The driver was negligent when the accident happened.
  5. It was the driver's negligence that caused the accident.

Negligent entrustment extends beyond friendship. The employer is responsible for their employees that use company vehicles, as well. Additionally, the offending object does not need to be a car; it could be a gun, boat, or RV. The fact that a person entrusted another person with something that needed to be handled with care and respect, knowing the person using the object was incapable for being responsible, makes the owner liable for any damages caused.

Punitive Damages

Even if the owner's auto insurance covers the actual damages of the accident, the punitive damages may not be covered. In Texas, there are occasions where insurance pays the punitive damages awarded by a jury. However, if the insurance refuses to pay on the grounds of negligent entrustment, the owner can have an unimaginable bill. Punitive damages are meant to punish the behavior, in the case of negligent entrustment, the punishment falls on the owner of the car, business, or gun. Even if the insurance will cover the punitive damages, they might exceed the limit on the insurance policy.

If you have been in an Austin car accident involving a borrowed vehicle, company vehicle, or unlicensed driver, contact an experienced attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have suffered.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Start Your Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

email us for a response
  • American Board of Trial Advocates texas trial lawyers association
  • superlawyers

    Robert Alden: 2005, 2006, 2008-2019
    Kevin Henrichson: 2017-2019
    Rising Star: 2005-08, 2013-14
    Derek Davis: Rising Star 2004

    Super Lawyers are chosen by Thomson Reuters and published in Texas Monthly Magazine

  • Don Davis:
    Personal Injury Litigation 1993-2014
    Legal Malpractice Law 2014

    Robert Alden:
    Commercial Litigation 2006-2020
    Bet-the-Company Litigation 2010-2020
    Personal Injury Litigation 2011-2020
    Lawyer of the Year – Personal Injury 2012
    Lawyer of the Year – Bet-the-Company Litigation 2019

    Best Lawyers publishes selected Lawyers in US News & World Report

  • av lexis nexis

    Don Davis | Robert Alden

    AV Preeminent is the highest peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell

  • bar register preeminent lawyers

    Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP:

    Martindale-Hubbell publishes the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

  • Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP:
    Tier 1 Personal Injury Litigation 2010-2019
    Tier 1 Commercial Litigation 2011-2019

  • Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP:
    Tier 1 Personal Injury Litigation 2010-2019
    Tier 1 Commercial Litigation 2011-2019

firm building

Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP
707 West 34th Street
Suite 1
Austin, TX 78705

Phone: 512-593-7650
Fax: 512-451-5857
Austin Law Office Map