Many in Norwalk may only view the collective cost of car accidents in terms of loss of life. This point of view is understandable, given that the only thing that cannot be fully compensated for following such an accident is the loss of a loved one. Yet this perspective also does not take into account the massive financial toll that car accidents can exact. Few likely realize that (according to information shared by Safer America) car accidents in America have a net financial impact of over $242 billion annually.
Such expenses are often frustrating for accident victims to have to deal with. Their frustrations are likely compounded if they find out that those who hit them had a history of reckless or poor driving. If that discovery also reveals that the vehicles they were driving were not their own, but rather entrusted to them by others, victims may rightly question if those who granted said drivers access to vehicles should also share in their liability.
The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment does indeed allow vicarious liability to be assigned to such parties in these situations. Connecticut Superior Court rulings have established the standard by which negligent entrustment is applied to car accidents that occur in the state. It is as follows: "The essential elements of the tort of negligent entrustment of an automobile [are] that the entrustor knows or ought reasonably to know that one to whom he entrusts it is so incompetent to operate it upon the highways that the former ought to reasonably anticipate the likelihood of injury to others by reason of that incompetence, and such incompetence does result in injury." Per this standard, the vehicle owner does err in simply loaning the vehicle, but rather doing so to one they know to be a poor driver.