Loaning car to bad driver? You’re liable

By David B. Peel
Guest columnist

David B. Peel

David B. Peel

Is someone borrowing your car? At some point, everyone has let another person drive his car. However, did you know that you could be liable for injuries caused by the person driving the car. It is important to understand when you are liable for injuries that are caused by someone else driving your car.

In Tennessee, a car owner can be liable for letting another person driving his car if he is doing so with his permission. In other words, you cannot be held liable if your car is stolen and it causes a wreck.

In negligent entrustment, the car owner knows that the person borrowing the car is an unfit or reckless driver. In this case, the car owner can again be liable for injuries and damage to another person and his car. However, in order for the car owner to be liable, it must be shown that the car owner either knew or should have known that the driver was not competent or was reckless at the time he gave the borrower permission to take the car.

A car owner can also be liable for letting an intoxicated driver borrow the car. And, a car owner can be liable for letting someone with a medical condition, which affects the person’s ability to drive, borrow the car.

Ultimately, you are responsible, (with your assets) to pay for accidents caused by a permissive driver of your car. If you lent it to a reckless or intoxicated person, you might be liable for punitive damages as well.

Be careful about lending. You might be getting trouble back in return.

David B. Peel is an attorney who makes his home in Arlington and has an office in Millington. He concentrates on injury and death cases. He can be reached through