Negligent Entrustment in Maryland

The doctrine of negligent entrustment has been part of the law of Maryland since 1934. Negligent entrustment is a cause of action personal injury lawyers in Maryland bring on behalf of injury victims. The theory behind negligent entrustment is that the entrustor is negligent because it negligently provided the entrustee party with a dangerous instrumentality that caused injury to a third person.

Subpart C to Part 391 of Volume 49 of the CFRs is titled "Background of Character." This regulation sets forth the rules and regulations that must be followed by trucking companies before putting a truck driver behind the dangerous instrumentality that is a truck. These regulations place an affirmative duty on trucking companies. This is not "know or have reason to know." The trucking companies have to do their due diligence to find out whether a truck driver poses a risk.

Not surprisingly, many truck accident lawyers in Maryland bring causes of action under the theory that the truck accident occurred because the trucking company negligently entrusted an extremely dangerous instrumentality, for example a semi truck, in the hands of someone they knew or should have known was not trustworthy. When this claim is made against a trucking company, it will be found negligent if the entrustee had a history that made a truck accident foreseeable. For example, suppose a trucking company hires a truck driver who has a record of drunk driving, which the company could have learned of through a search of available records. In Maryland, that trucking company may be liable for the negligent entrustment of that semi truck to that truck driver if the driver was drinking and caused an injury to a third person.

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