What Is Third-Party Liability and Why Does It Matter?

Posted on September 3, 2019 in

Nationwide, about one driver in eight has no auto insurance at all. This problem may be even worse in New York. The Empire State also has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. So, many drivers are either uninsured or dangerously underinsured. If the wreck caused catastrophic injuries, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) may not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation.

Fortunately, New York also has very broad vicarious liability (third-party liability) rules. These doctrines give victim/plaintiffs an additional source of recovery in these situations. That could be the difference between fair compensation and settling for less.

Fair compensation in a New York car crash usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.

 

Alcohol Provider Liability

New York is one of the few jurisdictions which still has a very broad dram shop law. Such laws protect victims in alcohol-related collisions. According to New York law, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other commercial providers are liable for car crash damages if:

Party hosts and other social hosts who provide alcohol to guests may also be vicariously liable for damages, especially if the guests were under 21.

 

Employer Liability

If the tortfeasor was an Uber driver, taxi driver, truck driver, or other commercial operator, the respondeat superior rule probably applies. Employers are liable for the negligent acts of their employees if:

If respondeat superior does not apply, another employer liability theory, like negligent hiring or negligent supervision, may fit.

 

Owner Liability

Drivers under 18 cannot own property as a matter of law. So, these drivers always borrow someone else’s vehicle. Likewise, roommates and friends often loan their cars to other people. If an owner allows an incompetent driver to use a vehicle, and that incompetent driver causes a crash, the owner may be liable for damages. Evidence of incompetency includes:

Enterprise Rent-a-Car and other commercial negligent entrustment claims work differently, because of the Graves Amendment.

 

Partner with an Aggressive Attorney

The tortfeasor may not be the only party liable for damages. For a free consultation with an NYC car accident lawyer, contact Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.

Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C.

In over a decade of legal practice, Attorney Michael Redenburg began his career defending cases for the clients of insurance companies. Initially defending no-fault claims at a Long Island-based law firm, he then moved on to a Manhattan-based firm where he defended the clients of insurance carriers in an auto accident and premises liability matters.

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