Those in Salem who have been involved in car accidents may not typically be in a rush to take legal action against those responsible for their collisions (particularly when that person is a teen). Rather, they may want to give the teen the benefit of the doubt, understanding that experience behind the wheel will likely help them from avoiding accidents in the future. Yet sometimes the circumstances of their collisions leave them with little choice but to seek compensation in order to afford their expenses. The question then becomes what sort of compensation can they hope to get from a teen driver?

While the answer to that question may be little, they may be able to hold the teen’s parents responsible for their actions. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows for just that. Simply put, negligent entrustment assigns vicarious liability to the owner of a vehicle if they loan their car to a driver that presents a higher risk of causing a car accident. The standard for applying negligent entrustment to car accident cases in Oregon has been set by local state court rulings. Specifically, the courts have said that in order for negligent entrustment to apply, it must be proven “that there was an entrustment and that the entrustment was negligent.”

“Negligence” in this context would be showing that the owner of the vehicle knew that the driver they loaned their car presented a greater risk to others due to either their inexperience or incompetence. It might reasonably be argued that the parents of teens should know that their kids are more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors. Indeed, information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that teens are more likely to speed, drive at odd hours and to drive after drinking.