Negligent entrustment is a claim that can be made in personal injury claims, wherein a person can be held liable for another's actions. If one person, the entrustor, allows the second person, the entrustee, to use something or engage in an activity under the entrustor's control in a way that creates an unreasonable risk of harm, the entrustor may have committed negligence entrustment.
Hallquist v. Smith, 189 S.W.3d 173, 175–76, (Mo.App. E.D.2006) stipulates four elements to a negligent entrustment claim:
- The entrustee is incompetent because of age, experience, habitual recklessness or otherwise;
- The entrustor knew or had reason to know of the entrustee's incompetence
- There was entrustment of the "chattel," or property, such as firearm or motor vehicle
- The plaintiff was injured due to the negligence of the entrustor and the conduct of the entrustee
Negligent entrustment is common in car accident claims, where a vehicle owner allows someone who is drunk or who does not know how to drive to operate their vehicle, causing injuries. For example, say "Steve," is having friends over to watch football. At halftime, he allows his friend, "Mark," to use Steve's car to go the store for more alcohol, despite knowing that Mark had been drinking all afternoon. If Mark injures you while driving, you would need to show:
- Mark was too drunk at the time to be able to drive safely
- Steve knew Mark was drunk, either through Mark's actions or because Steve had witnessed Mark drinking heavily that day
- Steve knowingly gave the keys to Mark and gave him permission to use the vehicle
- Mark's drunkenness and Steve's permission caused the accident that caused your injuries
It can also occur in business, if an employer allows an employee to use a tool that the employer knows they do not have sufficient training for.