In 20 years of courtroom lawyeriCustomizeng, I have filed one negligent entrustment case. And car accidents are one of my two practice areas. Negligent entrustment just doesn’t come around that much. CALL/TXT UTAH CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY JAKE GUNTER (801) 373-6345

What is the Utah Law on Negligent Entrustment? Elements.

The claimant injured party must prove the following elements for negligent entrustment to occur:

(1) That Owner owns the vehicle that caused the injuries.
(2) That the vehicle Owner permitted the Driver to drive the vehicle.
(3) At the time the vehicle Owner gave permission to drive, the owner knew that the driver was either careless, reckless, incompetent, inexperienced or and intoxicated driver.
(4) Driver was negligent in driving the vehicle.
(5) Driver’s negligence caused the accident, injuries and damages.

Negligent Entrustment is an Independent Action Against Vehicle Owner

A negligent entrustment lawsuit is directly against the vehicle owner. It is independent and in addition to the negligence cause of action against the driver of the vehicle. You have two separate independent claims against the driver and owner of the vehicle.

Comparative Fault in Negligent Entrustment Cases?

Generally a jury decides who is at-fault and how much at-fault the parties are. When you plead both negligent entrustment against the vehicle owner and negligence against the driver, fault between the two of them is not compared or offset.

The controlling Utah code is the Utah Comparative Fault Act found at Utah Code 78B-5-818. Utah is a 51% comparative fault state.

Who Determines if it was Negligent Entrustment?

Generally the jury is the ultimate decider of facts and will decide if the owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to driver. Sometimes the defense can bring a motion for summary judgment to determine the negligent entrustment shouldn’t go to the jury. Meaning that the plaintiff injured party has failed to prove any element require of negligent entrustment.

Examples of Negligent Entrustment.

(1). Drunk Driver. If you give your keys to someone you know is drunk and they hurt someone you are at-fault for negligent entrustment.

(2). Drugged Driver. If you give your car keys to someone you know is impaired on illegal drugs and they hurt someone, you are at-fault for negligent entrustment.

(3). Driver impaired on prescription drugs lawfully prescribed. Even if the drugs the vehicle driver is using are legally prescribed, if they are unsafe to drive and hurt someone—you may be liable.

(4). Providing child under 16 car keys. It may be negligent entrustment if you let your under 16 year old drive without a license.

(5). Providing car to person with known medical condition. Many people have limited license privileges because of medical conditions. If you know about that medical conditions and allow them to driver, you may be liable for negligent entrustment.

Common entrustment issues concern heavy industrial machines, heavy machinery, equipment, firearms and may include:

(1). Cars.
(2). Trucks.
(3). 4-wheelers, ATVs, Side-by-Sides.
(4). Sleds, Snowmobiles, winter machines.
(5). Boats, motorboats, sailboats, outboards motors
(6). Compound bow and arrows, guns, firearms, etc.


CV630 Owner who allows minor to drive.
[[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of owner] gave [name of driver] permission to drive the vehicle. [Name of owner] denies giving permission. You must decide whether [name of owner] gave [name of driver] permission to drive.]

The owner of a vehicle who knowingly permits a person under age 18 to drive [his] vehicle [or a person who gives or furnishes a vehicle to a person under the age of 18] is responsible for that driver’s fault, regardless of how cautious the [owner, giver or furnisher] may have been. If you find that the driver is at fault, any judgment will be applied fully against both the driver and the vehicle owner.

Utah Code Section 53-3-212.
Dixon v. Stewart, 658 P.2d 591 (Utah 1982).
MUJI 1st Instruction

Committee Notes
The judge may instruct the jury on this point of law even if the owner stipulates that he gave the driver permission to drive.
The separate imputed liability addressed in Utah Code Section 53-3-211 seldom results in jury trial issues, and also involves insurance issues. As a result, such issues are normally resolved by the court, often in pre-trial motions. This Instruction does not attempt to address section -211.

CV631 Negligent entrustment.
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of owner] was negligent in allowing [name of driver] to drive the vehicle. [Name of owner] is responsible for the harm to [name of plaintiff] if all of the following are true:
(1) [Name of owner] owns the vehicle.
(2) [Name of owner] permitted [name of driver] to drive the vehicle.
(3) At the time [name of owner] gave permission to drive, [he] knew that [name of driver] was a [careless, reckless, incompetent, inexperienced, intoxicated] driver.
(4) [Name of driver] was negligent in driving the vehicle.
(5) [Name of driver]’s negligence caused the accident.

Wilcox v. Wunderlich, 73 Utah 1, 272 P 207 (1928).
Lane v. Messer, 731 P.2d 488 (Utah 1986).
Am Jur 2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic sect. 617

Committee Notes
Liability for negligent entrustment is not imputed liability; rather, it is independent negligence for the act of entrustment. Therefore, the jury should apportion fault to the negligent entrustment tortfeasor pursuant to UCA 78B-5-818, -819 and -820.