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You know that it is important that new teen rivers in Green Bay have a chance to gain experience behind the wheel. Yet you also know that such drivers (largely due to their inexperience) often present a heightened risk to you and others. Research has shown that they are more likely to engage in reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding and driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you know these things, so too should a teen’s parents. It is up to them to ensure that not only do their teens understand the importance of behaving responsibly behind the wheel but that they themselves act prudently when entrusting their teens with their cars.

If they fail in this regard, the inevitable question then becomes whether or not you can hold them jointly liable with their teens. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows for just that. Simply put, this philosophy places added responsibility on vehicle owners by assigning liability to them when those they loan their vehicles to cause accidents.

Negligent entrustment may not apply to every case where a teen who was using their parents’ vehicle caused an accident, however. To cite it in your case, you must meet the standard set by Wisconsin state court rulings. It is as follows:

  • The car did belong to the teen’s parents
  • The parents permitted the teen to operate it
  • The parents knew (or should have known) that the youth and inexperience might make them operate the car in such a way as to present an unreasonable risk to others

Notice how one of the elements is that the parents knowingly let their teen use their car. This may exclude cases where a teen took the vehicle without permission from qualifying for liability under this principle.