Can you be sued if someone is hurt while driving your vehicle?

by Anonymous

A friend was riding one of our quads and had an accident. He cut his head open and cracked a rib. He feels it's his own fault but I don't think we should let others ride them in case someone else gets hurt.

I'm just wondering if you can be sued personally if someone is hurt while driving your motorcycle or quad?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can you be sued if someone is hurt while driving your vehicle?":

Anonymous (USA):

We'll presume a “quad” refers to a 4 wheel drive vehicle. If that's true, the answer is yes. The owner of almost any vehicle can be sued if someone is injured while they are a driver or passenger on or in the vehicle.

An exception might be if the driver drove the vehicle without the knowledge or permission of the owner. But there are exceptions to that rule as well.

For example, if the driver didn’t have the owner’s permission to drive the vehicle on a certain day, and at a certain time, and the owner had no knowledge the driver had taken the vehicle.

But because the owner had allowed the driver to drive the vehicle on prior occasions without the owner's specific permission or knowledge, and never complained when he later found out, the owner may still be liable. It’s kind of like the owner had no problem with the driver's action after learning about it.

People don’t usually automatically get sued each time a driver or passenger of their vehicle is injured in a collision. There is a process which occurs before any lawsuit is even contemplated.

Normally, in the case of a collision the owner’s insurance company will investigate the injured person’s claim. If the insurance company concludes the owner is responsible for allowing the driver to use their vehicle, and the driver was injured as a result, the owner’s insurance company will pay the claim. Once that happens the need for a lawsuit disappears.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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