The driver or operator of a motor vehicle, whether it is the owner, a friend,
family member, or employee may impact liability and who an injured victim
may seek compensation from. New York laws address liability in situations
where someone other than the vehicle owner is operating the vehicle.
Our experienced Poughkeepsie car accident attorneys are well aware of the
permissive use doctrine and how it has been codified in
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 388. This statute states,
“Every owner of a vehicle used or operated in this state shall be
liable and responsible for death or injuries to person or property resulting
from negligence in the use or operation of such vehicle, in the business
of such owner or otherwise, by any person using or operating the same
with the permission, express or implied, of such owner.”
Vehicle owners may be liable for all harms caused to others involving his
or her motor vehicle even if the owner was not driving or in the vehicle
at all. This puts owners on notice to be careful about entrusting a vehicle
to others. It is just another duty owed by vehicle owners.
What this law means to those injured in a
car accident is that both the driver and the owner may be sued. Ensuring a proper recovery
means adding all potential responsible parties to the suit. Consider an
accident caused by a negligent driver and add the fact that the car owner
knew that the driver had a propensity to drive recklessly, had a history
of driving recklessly, but nonetheless loaned the vehicle to the driver.
In this example, the owner may have been negligent as well and as such,
just as culpable as the driver for your injuries.
The presumption of permissive use does have exceptions about which you
should be aware. If the owner can demonstrate that the driver did not
have express or implied permission to use the vehicle, then the owner
may avoid liability. For example, in
Bost v. Thomas an owner’s vehicle was taken while he was asleep. He never permitted
the driver to use the car and as such was not liable for the accident
in which the driver was involved. And of course accidents involving stolen
cars do not invoke the permissive use doctrine.
Are you interested in learning who else may be liable for your car accident?
Find out more from our latest article posted here.
Our car accident attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious personal injury accidents,
particularly throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie,
and Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.