Maryland Trucking Company Owners May Not Entrust Vehicles to Negligent Drivers

Plaintiffs in Maryland may recover money damages from a negligent truck driver’s employer based on the legal theory of negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment allows Maryland accident attorneys to accomplish two objects important to a plaintiff’s personal injury suit. First, this method of recovery allows a plaintiff to avoid the situation where the truck driver does not have sufficient personal assets or insurance coverage to satisfy a potential monetary award. Second, the theory allows plaintiffs to punish careless owners of trucking companies who put Marylanders at risk of serious injury or death caused by negligently operated or maintained trucks.

Under Maryland law, negligent entrustment has three elements that must be demonstrated before the court during trial. First, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the trucking company owner was a legal supplier that made the truck available to the driver. Second, the plaintiff must prove that the owner knew or should have known that the truck was in defective condition or that the truck driver, due to inexperience or other factors, was likely to drive the truck in a manner that put others at risk of harm. Finally, an attorney must prove that the injured plaintiff was the type of person the supplier would expect to be endangered by a negligent truck driver.

Maryland courts define a supplier as anyone who has the right to permit and the power to prohibit the use of the truck. If the negligent truck driver’s employer owned the truck, then the owners is legally a supplier who made the truck available to the negligent driver. In a number of cases, Maryland courts have held that truck company owners are legal suppliers if they possess trucks and provide them to drivers that they employ.

Maryland courts have held that pedestrians and other drivers injured by negligent truck drivers are the types of persons the supplier would expect to be endangered by a negligent truck driver.

Therefore, the theory of negligent entrustment allows a Maryland plaintiff to ensure a full recovery for their injuries and help protect other Maryland drivers from negligent owners of trucking companies.

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