Three-Year-Old Crashes Vehicle Into Several Parked Cars
Several parked cars were damaged when a 47-year-old Florida woman allowed her 3-year-old grandson drive a car. According to what one witness told police, there was a loud crash and the witness saw a gold, four-door Chrysler crash head-on into a parked vehicle and then back into another vehicle. The witness said that he could clearly see the child standing on the lap of his grandmother and that the child was steering the car. The child was visiting from New Jersey with his family, and his mother took him back home. The Department of Children and Families is coordinating with New Jersey officials to make sure the child is safe, and the grandmother has been charged with child abuse and careless driving.
Can you sue an adult who allows a child to crash into your car?
When an adult allows a child to operate a motor vehicle and the child subsequently causes an accident, it may be possible for the victims of the accident to bring a lawsuit against the adult under the legal theory of “negligent entrustment”. A negligent entrustment claim can arise when an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver causes damages while driving a motor vehicle owned by someone else. In order for the victim of the accident to win a lawsuit under this theory, there are five elements that must be proven. First, that the owner of the vehicle entrusted the vehicle to the driver. Second, that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless. Third, that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless. Fourth, that the driver was negligent in the operation of the vehicle. And fifth, that the driver’s negligence resulted in the damages. A negligent entrustment case can occur when a child is allowed to operate a motor vehicle, but it can also occur if someone is allowed to drive someone else’s car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Do the owners of the parked cars have a case against the grandmother?
The grandmother entrusted the car to the 3-year-old child. A child that young cannot be licensed to drive a car and is clearly incompetent to perform the task safely. The grandmother knew that this was a dangerous situation because allowing a 3-year-old to drive a car can never be a safe situation. The child was negligent in the operation of the vehicle because a 3-year-old driving a car will always be a negligent act, and the child’s negligent actions directly caused the damage to the parked vehicles. Because all 5 elements of negligent entrustment are met, the owners of the parked cars likely would be successful if they brought a lawsuit against the grandmother.
If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to talk to an attorney who can help you seek compensation for your injuries, contact the experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP for a consultation.