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In most cases, the at-fault driver is liable for damages after an accident. However, sometimes, the victim of an accident can hold the owner of the vehicle liable for their damages even if they were not driving when the accident occurred. Here are three examples of situations where you can be liable for damages if someone else was driving your vehicle.
1. The Driver Is Considered Your Agent
If you ask your friend to use your vehicle to buy your groceries, pick up your dry cleaning, or do something for you and they get into an accident that injures others, you may be held liable. The agency theory in Illinois states that in order for you to be held liable, it must be proven that you own the vehicle and allowed someone else to drive it and the person driving it was doing something you ordered them to do at the time of the accident.
2. The Driver Was Entrusted Negligently By You
In the event you give someone who is intoxicated or not in the right state of mind to drive your vehicle, you may be responsible if they get into an accident. According to the theory of negligent entrustment, if there is proof that you knew or should have known that the driver was not in a position to drive a vehicle safely but still allowed them to drive and damages arose, the damages are considered your fault.
3. The Driver Is Your Employee
The theory of respondeat superior is a legal doctrine that holds an employer responsible for the wrongful acts of their employees. Under the theory of respondeat, if your driver is your employee and gets into an accident, you may be held liable.
The fact that there was an employer-employee relationship when the accident occurred and the employee was on the road and at least partly driving for their job must be demonstrated. It is important to keep in mind that even if your employee stopped to run a personal errand or pick up a cup of coffee, you may be responsible if the primary focus of their driving was their job.
Consult Our Hinsdale Car Accident Lawyers
If someone else was driving your vehicle and you are not sure whether you are liable for an accident they caused, you should contact our DuPage County car accident lawyers today at 630-920-8855. We will closely evaluate your situation and inform you of your legal options.