Claims of Negligent Entrustment in Colorado

Posted by Jeremy Rosenthal | Nov 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

Negligent entrustment has been a long argued matter of tort which involves indirect liability. In Checkley vs Allied (2016 No. 14-1482 and 14-1495 D. Colo.) an illustration was used: A allows B, whom he is aware is an inexperienced driver, to use his car. B invites C, who knows of his inexperience, to drive with him. B's inexperience leads him to drive improperly and collides with D. The collision harms both B and C. Neither B nor C may recover against A; however, A is liable to D. Negligent entrustment is defined in Colorado as negligence to permit a 3rd party to use something under their control. It must be proven that the party knows (or should know) that the person is likely to use it to create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. To explain further, one who supplies directly or through a 3rd party a chattel for the use of another whom the supplier knows due to youth, inexperience, or otherwise, to use it in a manner of unreasonable risk of harm to himself and others.

With this problematic scenario in mind, insurance companies proactively address it in the state's statute for auto insurance (C.R.S.10-4-630). For example, assume the provider has an auto policy covering a husband, wife, and their son. If the son has shown a pattern of poor driving, when the policy is eligible for renewal, the insurer will only agree to renew it without significant price increases if the son is excluded from the policy. Essentially, this releases the insurer from liability associated with the son's actions even if the parents grant permission for the son to operate their vehicles.

Case Review

In Draper v DeFrechi (10CA1316) Greg and Cynthia Nelson lent a truck to their 19-year old son, who allowed 18-year old Christie DeFrenchi to drive it. DeFrenchi possessed only a learner permit, which requires that a 21-year old supervise her driving. The truck ended up in a collision with the vehicle of Robert Draper and his wife and son. The wife suffered severe injuries. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Draper filed suit against all 4 of them alleging tort claims for loss of consortium, emotional distress, and negligent entrustment. The facts were outlined as:

  • The Nelson's owned the truck operated by DeFrenchi.
  • The parents entrusted the truck to their son.
  • The son, who was 19-years old, entrusted the truck to DeFrenchi.
  • The Nelson's denied knowledge of the DeFrenchi's driving status.

The court found that there is no confirmation that the Nelson's had known (or had reason to) that DeFrenchi was an unfit driver.

Contact a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney 

Has someone's reckless or negligent driving caused an accident that has made you an injury victim? Fortunately, Colorado law allows for you to contact a personal injury attorney and pursue a suit to properly compensate you during this difficult time. Contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today for a complimentary review of your case.

About the Author

Jeremy Rosenthal

Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is dedicated to helping his clients seek just compensation for their injuries regardless of the lengths he has to go to or the distances he may have to travel in order to get it.

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