You can be held responsible for your Minor's Negligence in an Auto Accident!

Matthew Troutman Nov. 29, 2022

There are circumstances that exist under Kentucky law where you can be held responsible for the negligence of another in an automobile accident even though you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and may have not even been in the car. Under common law, there is a cause of action for negligent entrustment that can apply to an auto accident when someone gives permission to another they know or should have known would cause an accident if given permission to drive their vehicle. An example would be giving your car keys to someone you knew was intoxicated or to someone who was underage and did not have a driver's license. Another example of being responsible for another who causes an auto accident is the common law concept of respondent superior, which means that an employer is responsible for the negligence of an employee committed while they are working. I had a client once who could never understand how he could be responsible for the negligence of his employee. His response to being sued over the negligence of his employee- "I was not driving the car!"

A third circumstance where you and I can be held responsible for the negligence of another is when we provide a car to a minor. When it comes to minor’s, Kentucky statute KRS 186.590 expands the circumstances when someone can be responsible for the negligent operation of a vehicle by someone else. If you sign the minor’s application for a driver’s license, then you are held liable for any accident they cause. If you give permission for a minor to drive your vehicle, you are jointly responsible even if you did not know they would likely cause an accident. A recent case reported in Kentucky where a 15-year-old stole keys out of his grandfather’s pockets while he was napping demonstrates the limits to imputing liability to another. Since no permission was granted by the grandfather, he was held not liable. Of course, the reason the injured party in that accident was making a claim against the grandfather is because the fact that the 15-year-old stole the vehicle meant that the coverage on the vehicle did not cover the 15-year-old. Most all automobile insurance polices have an exclusion of coverage for stolen vehicles. The only claim that the injured party could make would be an uninsured motorist assuming they have this coverage on their vehicle.

Check your auto insurance policy and make sure that you have uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist protects you if you are injured in an accident by an uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist protects you if you are injured by a motorist who has insurance but not enough to compensate you for your damages. Both of these coverages are relatively cheap and extremely valuable if you are injured in an auto accident. There are lots of people driving around Louisville without insurance and if they have insurance it is likely to be the Kentucky minimum of $25,000.00.

Contact Louisville Auto Accident Attorney

If you are involved in an auto accident, you will require the services of an experienced Louisville auto accident attorney to investigate the cause of the accident and maximize all benefits available to the victims and their families. Matthew Troutman, a Louisville auto accident lawyer, of the Troutman Law Office has been handling auto accident claims, almost exclusively, since 1986 and has the experience and talent to obtain the best result for the victims in the above car accident.

If you need legal assistance due to a motor vehicle accident, contact Louisville auto accident attorney Matthew Troutman directly at 502-648-9507 and he will meet with you in the hospital, your home or wherever is convenient for you. He will give you direct access through his cell phone and guide you through the difficult process necessary to obtain the best result possible for you in your car accident claim. To learn more about Kentucky car accident attorney Matthew Troutman and the Troutman Law Office, click here.