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What Happens When the At-Fault Driver Does Not Own the Vehicle in a Virginia Car Crash?

What happens if you are injured in an accident and the at-fault driver does not own the vehicle that injured you? In some cases, your Virginia personal injury attorney can hold the owner of the vehicle liable for damages even if they were not the person driving when the crash occurred.

Your Virginia car accident attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine who the responsible party or parties are. Here are three common scenarios where this can happen:

The Driver Was an Agent of the Vehicle’s Owner

If the driver of the vehicle was doing an errand or other activity for the owner of the vehicle, then that means the vehicle owner can also be held liable. The driver is considered an “agent” of the owner in these situations.

The Driver Was an Employee of the Vehicle’s Owner

Similar to the above scenario, but instead of being a friend or family member, the at-fault driver is an employee of the vehicle owner. This is referred to as the theory of respondeat superior, a legal doctrine which holds employers responsible for wrongful acts committed by their employees. In order to prove liability, your Virginia accident attorney must prove that the employee was at least partly driving for their employer while on the road. Even if the employee had stopped to run a personal errand, the employer could still be held liable.

The Vehicle Owner Was Negligent in Entrusting Vehicle to the Driver

There are situations where the owner of the vehicle lets someone drive their car that is not in an appropriate state to be behind the wheel. This can include situations where the driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or was suffering from some emotional or mental state where they should not have been driving. This is referred to as the theory of negligent entrustment. Your Virginia accident attorney must prove that the vehicle owner knew or should have known that the driver was not in a condition to drive but gave them the keys to the vehicle anyway.

Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney for Assistance

A Virginia car accident attorney understands that when a person is injured in a car accident caused by another party, it can often be a confusing and overwhelming time. Not only are you dealing with the pain and recovery of the injuries, but you also may be dealing with financial issues, worried how you will pay the medical bills for your treatment and the income you are losing from being unable to work. This can be compounded when there is possible confusion on who is the liable party for the losses you have suffered.

At Shapiro & Appleton, we have been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.

Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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