Is The Owner Of The Car That Hit Me Responsible For My Injuries And Bills?
Yes, but it depends on the circumstances. There is a presumption that the owner of a vehicle is able to control the conduct of the driver, and so is responsible for it. That’s a presumption that is usually quickly overcome.
Of course, Maryland law provides that the non-owner operator of a negligently driven vehicle is responsible for their own negligence if they cause an accident.
Now, if that vehicle were covered by insurance procured by the owner, typically there would be coverage for an accident caused by the non-owner operator, as long as he or she had the owner’s permission to drive the car. Many times, perhaps most, that is the case. As attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you, Baltimore personal injury attorneys sometimes face situations where it is necessary to convince the jury the owner, in addition to the driver, should be separately responsible for causing an accident. One such scenario, discussed in a separate article, is where the owner is a business, and the non-owner operator is an employee, operating the vehicle in the scope and course of their employment. If that employee is negligent, the business/owner is responsible.
Where the owner of a vehicle has reason to know that a driver would be negligent-based on that driver’s past poor driving or lack of training or age- the owner may be liable for an accident based on a theory called “negligent entrustment”.
A jury would be instructed that the owner is liable for the driver’s conduct where they know or should have known the driver would be “reckless, incompetent or dangerous”. [MPJI 18:5].