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Negligent Entrustment of Your Car — the ISBA Offers Some Tips

Question: What happens if I loan or sell a car to a minor who is then in car accident?   Answer : In Illinois, if a car is lent to someone who may not be competent to operate it, and he or she causes an accident, there is a theory of law under which the lender can be liable for damages that arise. Theory is called “negligent entrustment of a vehicle.” This is not the case, however, in the sale of an auto. In a 1984 case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Illinois, a father sold his car to his 23-year-old son. Later, the son was involved in an accident that killed his passenger. The passenger’s parents sued the father under the “negligent entrustment of a vehicle” theory. In court, the passenger’s parents argued that because the son had three DUI convictions and did not have a driver’s license, the father was negligent in entrusting the car to his son. The court, however, ruled in favor of the father, holding that Theory of “negligent entrustment” did not apply to the sale of an automobile. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.comIf you have a legal question, send it to Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit