Thursday, May 17, 2012

MARYLAND CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER Is the owner of the car that hit me responsible?

Yes, but it depends on the circumstances. A Maryland car accident attorney will advise you that the non-owner operator of a negligently driven vehicle is responsible for their own negligence. 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. Maryland car accident attorneys sometimes face situations where it is necessary to convince the jury the owner, in addition to the driver, should be separately responsible for an accident. One such scenario, discussed in a separate chapter, 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. Some Maryland car accident attorneys have successfully argued that where the owner of a vehicle has reason to know that a driver would be negligent-based on that driver's past poor driving- the owner may be liable for an accident based on a theory called "negligent entrustment".
Another scenario where seasoned Maryland car accident attorneys have successfully argued that a non-driving owner is responsible for the conduct of a non-owner driver is where that owner is present in the car.  Maryland law provides that if the owner asks another to drive, while still in the car, the owner has the obligation and duty to make sure the vehicle is operated safely. If the person driving is negligent, it is assumed the owner agreed to the conduct, and is responsible for it. Powers v. State, 11 A.2d 909 [1940]. But what about a non-owner passenger under those same circumstances? Do they have to stop the driver from driving negligently? Are they contributorily negligent if they do not? Experienced Maryland car accident attorneys know that a non-owner passenger is not necessarily negligent for riding with an intoxicated driver, or failing to complain of excessive speed, but they might be. It depends on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.

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