Ohio Negligent Entrustment is a cause of action, which allows for the recovery of damages when an individual entrusts another individual with an instrument, being fully aware that individual cannot handle said instrument. Negligent entrustment typically occurs in auto claims.
How Ohio Negligent Entrustment works
Under the Ohio Negligent Entrustment statute, codified at Revised Code Section 4511.203, the owner of a motor vehicle may face both criminal penalties and civil liability when he or she entrusts a vehicle to another when the owner knows or reasonably should know:
(a) The operator does not have a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle;
(b) The operator has had his driver’s license suspended or revoked;
(c) The operator’s driving of the vehicle would violate Ohio’s Financial Responsibility laws;
(d) The operator is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
(e) The vehicle is the subject of an immobilization waiver order, and permitting the operator to drive the vehicle would violate the order.
Potential defense to Negligent Entrustment
In Ohio, a defense to Negligent Entrustment can occur if the individual informs the vehicle owner he or she has a driver’s license and evidence suggests the vehicle owner did not have any knowledge the statement was false. Prior conduct may be presented to establish the vehicle owner knew or should have known the individual would use the vehicle in a dangerous manner. Click here to learn about Negligent Entrustment in other states.
To summarize, the vehicle owner may face both criminal penalties and civil liability when he or she entrusts a vehicle to another individual when the owner knows or reasonably knows the individual could use the vehicle in a dangerous manner or poses a risk to other people on the road. The vehicle owner may escape liability by proving the individual told him he had a valid driver’s license, and the owner had no knowledge the individual was being untruthful. To learn more about tactics we use in litigation, contact one of our Ohio subrogation lawyers.