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Vicarious liability for car accidents

Texans who loan their vehicle to a person who causes an accident may be held financially responsible for the crash. Even in the absence of a statute, there are a variety of legal theories and doctrines that provide for this.

One legal doctrine that allows car accident victims to sue car owners who loaned their vehicle to a reckless driver is called "vicarious liability." In some states, there are statutes that hold car owners responsible for accidents involving their vehicle. Even in states without such laws, owners can be held liable under a common law legal theory called "negligent entrustment."

Employers can also be held liable when an employee causes a crash while driving within the scope of work duties. This type of vicarious liability is limited to times when the employee is driving or performing duties within the scope of his or her employment. If the employee causes a crash in a company vehicle while using the car for personal reasons, the employer will probably not be held responsible because the employee was not acting within the scope of his or her employment. Parents may also be held liable for a car accident caused by a minor under the family car doctrine, even if the minor is not on a car's insurance policy.

Car accidents may result in many damages, including costly medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs and other economic losses. When the accident is due to the negligence of another motorist, a personal injury attorney can often be of assistance to an injured victim in seeking compensation for these and other amounts.

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