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Teen's family sues driver, owner of vehicle after fatal accident

When Baltimore residents need to use an item they do not have, it is common to borrow the item from a family member or friend. While sharing can be a great thing, it can also have some serious legal implications when tragic accidents occur.

A common example of this is when a person borrows their vehicle to another individual, who then strikes and injures someone else. The injured party may not only attempt to seek compensation from the driver of the vehicle, but also the owner as well.

For instance, after a teenager was killed in a fatal accident while riding a motorcycle in another state, the teenager's estate brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash. The suit alleges the driver's negligence caused the accident because the vehicle and motorcycle collided while the driver attempted to turn into a driveway but failed to yield to the oncoming motorcycle. Interestingly, in addition to the driver, the owner of the vehicle was sued for being negligent in entrusting the car to the driver. In total, $25,000 worth of damages are being requested.

While it may sound odd that a person can sue the owner of the vehicle if that person was not driving the car at the time of the accident in question, owners can be held liable under certain circumstances if they loaned their car to someone who they knew was an unsafe driver. This is known as negligent entrustment, which is an important legal theory often used, for example, when parents are sued for their child's car accidents.

Ultimately, injured individuals or those who have experienced the loss of a loved one should understand the legal doctrines that may apply to their situation. Doing so can help them in pursuing damages from the responsible party. Each case is different, however, and must be evaluated on its own facts.

Source: Lima Ohio, "Family files wrongful death lawsuit over motorcycle crash," Greg Sowinski, May 13, 2014

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