Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raised an interesting issue that may arise in Maryland motorcycle accident cases. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s negligent entrustment claim against a rental car agency was sufficient as a matter of law, based on the fact that the agency rented a vehicle to a customer who was under 25 years old in violation of company policy.
The court ultimately concluded that the fact the agency rented to an underage driver, without any other specific knowledge of the driver’s habits or predispositions, was insufficient to show that the agency should have known the customer posed a risk to others.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident when the driver of a Ford Mustang made a left turn in front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle, cutting him off. As it turns out, the 21-year-old driver of the Mustang had rented the car from the defendant rental car agency. The rental car agency had a policy not to rent vehicles to those under 25 years of age. However, the owner of the agency made an exception and rented the vehicle despite the customer’s age.