What Is Negligent Entrustment?

by Great American Insurance Group, Loss Control Data Guide

August 2008

What Is Negligent Entrustment?

Executive Summary

In an employment situation, "negligent entrustment" is a legal term meaning the act of an employer leaving a dangerous article (such as a gun or a car) with an employee whom the employer knows, or should know, is likely to use it in an unreasonable risky manner.

Typically, negligent entrustment arises in an employment situation when:

  • The employer carelessly allowed or entrusted an employee to use and instrument that could cause harm.
  • The employer knew or should have known of the incompetence of the employee.
  • The incompetence of the employee was a substantial factor in the cause of the injury.

Under a charge of negligent entrustment, as employer may be liable for the damages caused by an incompetent employee. Punitive damages may be awarded if negligent entrustment is proven. These damages are not commonly covered by your insurance policy.

Proactive Tips for Driving:

Federal or State regulations clearly specify driver hiring and training programs for some driving such as Commercial Drivers License.

Even if there are no applicable regulations, training programs should be implemented to avoid charges of negligence. Best business practices may not always prevent an accident, but they show employees and others that you are serious about safety. Implementation of proactive company policies may limit your liability if an accident occurs.

Sources and Citations

Great American Insurance Group, Loss Control Data Guide. "What is Negligent Entrustment?" August 2008. Great American Insurance Group. (Cited: 1 Jan. 2011)

Backup Local Copy of Cited Document

"What is Negligent Entrustment?". August 2008. (pdf, 2 pages, 55kb).