When a parent allows a child to use their car, they are trusting that the child will operate the vehicle responsibly. However, history has proven that this is not always the case. In fact, due to the inherent risks of sharing the road with motorcycles, many Maryland motorcycle accidents are caused by young and inexperienced drivers.
Most people assume that when a child causes a motorcycle accident, the child’s parents can be held civilly liable for any damage and injuries caused by the accident, which are often quite serious. In a recent case, a state appellate court discussed when a parent may be liable for their child’s accident. That court applied the “family purpose doctrine,” which confers liability onto the owner of the vehicle that the related minor was operating when causing the accident. This is a blanket rule that applies by default, making it easier for accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries from a minor’s parents. However, under Maryland personal injury law, a different standard is applied.
Maryland employs a different doctrine, entitled negligent entrustment, when determining if a parent can be held liable for the negligent acts of their children. The question in a negligent entrustment analysis is 1.) whether the teen driver was incompetent to operate a motor vehicle, and 2.) whether the parent knew about the incompetence. The idea is that Maryland lawmakers have determined that a parent should not be liable for a child’s negligence unless the minor’s inability to safely operate a vehicle was known to the parent at the time they allowed the child to use the vehicle.
Establishing that a negligent minor’s parents are liable for an accident is difficult in Maryland, but it can be done. For example, if a parent allows a child to use the family car despite knowledge of the minor’s lack of experience, a court may find that the parent can be held liable for the resulting injuries. Also, if a minor is engaged in criminal wrongdoing, the minor’s parents can be held liable for any injuries or property damage that result. Another example in which liability may be appropriate is if a parent is hosting a party and provides alcoholic beverages to their children, who then use the car with permission and cause an accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated team of Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers has extensive experience representing victims and their families in cases against those responsible for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney today, call 410-654-3600. Calling is risk-free because you are not obligated to pursue your case unless it is your desire to do so, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Court Discusses Recreational Use Immunity Statute in Recent Bicycle Injury Case, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 18, 2018.
Bicycle Accidents on Maryland Roads, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 5, 2018.