Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Negligent Entrustment

 

The owner of a vehicle or other personal property must take care when lending the property out to another person.  The tort of negligent entrustment places personal liability on a property owner who negligently entrusts the property to another party.  For liability to attach, the owner of the property must have knowledge about the propensities or lack of ability of the person to whom the property is entrusted.  The risk presented must be foreseeable.

 

  To prove a claim for negligent entrustment, the plaintiff must show the following elements:

 

  1.       That the defendant supplied some personal property to a third person.

  2.       That the defendant knew or should have known that such third person, due to youth, inexperience, or otherwise, was likely to use the property in a manner that would present an unreasonable risk of physical harm; and

  3.       That the defendant knew, or should have known, that the persons at risk of harm would be the entrustee, or other persons whom the defendant should expect to share in or be endangered as a result of the use of such personal property.

 

  While this sounds complicated in the abstract, let’s take a simple example:  Tom and Jerry are drinking at a bar.  Tom can see that Jerry is clearly intoxicated.  Nevertheless, Tom gives Jerry his keys and tells him to take it for a spin.  Jerry proceeds to crash the vehicle, causing serious injury to Tweety.  Tweety now has a claim for negligent entrustment against Tom.

 

  A defendant can be charged with knowledge when the defendant should inquire into the circumstances further but fails to do so.  There is no specific test or hard rule concerning exactly what knowledge is required, rather it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

 

  Negligent entrustment cases are sometimes brought against parents of children, employers and lessors of property. 

 

  Even a gift can be the basis of negligent entrustment.  In one case, the Maryland Court of Appeals has held that a third party could not recover against the parents of the driver of the vehicle which caused them injury, even where the parents were aware at the time that they gave the driver a car that his conduct was reckless, because the parents did not have the present ability to control the behavior of their driver, and also lacked authority over the automobile. 

 

The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. can assist you if you have a negligent entrustment claim.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and review your situation and provide appropriate advice.  Call today for a no-obligation consultation.  There is no consultation fee for cases involving personal injury.

 

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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