Information and Advice from an Ottawa Car Accident Lawyer
Allowing someone else to drive your vehicle might not seem like a big deal, but as an Ottawa car accident lawyer explains, it is in fact a liability. If you are the owner of a motor vehicle you can be held responsible for any negligent operation that occurs in it - even if you aren't the one driving! In legal terms this is referred to as liability for negligently entrusting a motor vehicle to another person. So before you lend your car to a friend or family member, here are a few important factors to consider.
Personal Liability vs. Vicarious Liability
Liability for negligently entrusting a motor vehicle to another person can encompass two different types of liability: personal and vicarious.
Yes, personal liability can occur in the event someone else engages in the negligent operation of your vehicle. This would occur if the negligent activity was the direct result of the owner, e.g. if improper maintenance lead to damage which caused an accident that would have otherwise been avoided.
Vicarious liability is imposed under section 192 of the Highway Traffic Act, which states that, "The owner of a motor vehicle or street car is liable for loss or damage sustained by any person by reason of negligence in the operation of the motor vehicle or street car on a highway, unless the motor vehicle or street car was without the owner's consent in the possession of some person other than the owner or the owner's chauffeur." (2005, c. 31, Sched. 10, s. 2.) E.g. You lend your car to someone who drives under the influence and causes a car accident. As an Ottawa car accident lawyer can explain, the reason for this law is twofold. Firstly, it helps provide greater accountability for an accident and it expands possible compensation to injured plaintiffs. The second objective is simply to encourage vehicle owners to take responsibility for their vehicle and use care when lending it to others.
How Liability is Proven
In order to prove liability for negligently entrusting a motor vehicle to another person an Ottawa car accident lawyer must assert that the owner a) gave willing consent allowing the driver to use his/her vehicle; b) the driver is unlicensed and/or known to be a reckless driver; c) the driver was negligent and this negligence was the cause of the accident.
Precautions to Take
Before entrusting another person with your car, make sure you understand the liability you are undertaking. Being aware of the law is one of the best ways to keep your vehicle and yourself protected.