Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion discussing the negligent entrustment theory of liability. The plaintiff in the case was a man who was injured when a drunk driver struck him while he was driving. The relevant claim was against the driver’s employer, which had allowed the driver to use a company vehicle. The court ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s case should be permitted to move ahead toward trial because there was sufficient evidence to put the employer on notice as to the driver’s history of DUI convictions.
The Facts of the Case
As mentioned above, the plaintiff was struck by a drunk driver. That driver had arranged to borrow a vehicle from his employer. The employer allowed the driver to borrow the vehicle, despite the fact that it was clearly prohibited by company policy. While the employee was borrowing the vehicle, he had a few drinks and was involved in a DUI accident with the plaintiff.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the driver’s employer, arguing that the employer was negligent in allowing the defendant to use a company vehicle. In support of his claim, the plaintiff pointed to several drunk driving convictions that the employee had incurred prior to being hired. In its defense, the employer explained that the employee only told the employer about one of the DUI convictions in the interview. The employer ran a background check that went back three years, and nothing came back.
The employee testified at the trial, and he explained that he was honest with the employer about his past, and he would have disclosed his previous DUIs. He also explained to the employer during the interview that his license had been suspended a number of times for various reasons.
The court determined that the employer was presented with enough evidence to warrant further investigation into the employee’s driving history. The court explained that, while the employee may not have disclosed each of his prior DUIs, he did disclose more than one. He also disclosed that his license had been suspended for DUI-related reasons. This, the court held, should have triggered a further investigation. As a result of the court’s decision, the plaintiff will be permitted to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations with his case.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a New Mexico drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have decades of experience handling all kinds of personal injury matters for clients across New Mexico. With their experience on your side, you can rest assured that you and your case are in good hands. Call 505-889-FINE to set up a free consultation with an attorney from the Fine Law Firm today.
More Blog Posts:
Premises Liability Case Brought by Injured Delivery Driver Allowed to Proceed Against Gas Station, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2017.
Appellate Court Declines Opportunity to Apply Government Immunity in Bicycle Accident Case Against City, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 11, 2017.