People often get this one wrong. Here is the reason. They know that their boss can be sued if an employee hits someone with the company car. So they reason that parents can be sued if their son or daughter gets into a traffic accident.
The difference between the two situations is who is responsible. An employee is working as a representative of the company and doing the company’s business; so the company is responsible. An individual is responsible for his or her own actions. So generally, you cannot be sued because of what someone else did while driving your car. The driver is responsible.
However, there are exceptions.
If you give your car to an incompetent, you are responsible and that could cost you. Let me give you some examples of an incompetent — the driver has insufficient training, the driver is not a reasonably safe person with a number of previous wrecks, the driver has a drug or alcohol problem.
In Alabama, giving the keys to a drinker can indeed cost you your house. Let me strongly caution you from loaning your car to a drinker. The Alabama Supreme Court has said that “one who is a habitual drunkard is an incompetent driver.” Sometimes you just have to tell your relatives …No!
You do have to give permission for someone to use your car; if not, it is theft. But you don’t have to verbally give permission. The Alabama Courts have said that you could be responsible by merely leaving the car available.
Let me add that these exceptions don’t just apply to kids. Any time you loan your vehicle, the same situations apply.
If you need help because of a car accident, you can talk with the lawyers at Eiland and Ritchie for free. There is no cost until we collect for you. We want to help you get back on your feet.
Personal Injury Attorney