Negligent entrustment is a cause of action that arises when someone or a business entity is held liable because they negligently provided, enabled, allowed another to be enabled with a dangerous instrumentality (i.e. give the car keys to a visibly intoxicated person) or entrusted another with a dangerous instrument and that person causes injury to another with that instrumentality. Most frequently this cause of action arises where someone allows another to drive their car when they know that person is intoxicated or that person is a dangerous driver.
Negligent entrustment is commonly found where the person entrusted has a reputation or history that shows their dangerous propensity when using or possessing such an instrumentality; usually a car.
Often the claim is against the entrustee's employer and the employer will be held liable if the entrustee's history, propensity, or record was known or would have been easily discoverable by the employer, had a reasonable search been done.
For example, if a truck company hires a driver with a record of reckless driving, which the truck company could easily have learned by running his record, and he causes injury to another, then the company may be liable for negligent entrustment of the truck to that driver.
A non automobile example, if one party lets another borrow dangerous equipment, such a s a gun, knowing that the other party has a propensity for violence, then the loaning party may have negligently entrusted the dangerous instrument, like the gun, and will be liable if they use dangerous equipment, i.e. the gun, to injure someone.
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