You lend your car to a friend. Your friend causes an accident while driving your car. You are sued for negligence even though you were not driving at the time of the accident.
In BC, the Motor Vehicle Act finds the vehicle owner responsible for any damage or loss caused by their vehicle. This includes accidents caused by a 3rdparty who have been given consent to operate the vehicle. In other words, if you allow someone to drive your vehicle and they cause an accident, you can be sued for the damages.
There are 2 kinds of consent that the law recognizes. The first is express consent. This is given when a vehicle owner openly admits to allowing someone else to drive their vehicle.
The second type of consent, implied consent, is central in BC Supreme Court case Green v. Pelley.
In this case, the defendant, Mr. McIvor, owns a Ford pick up truck. He gives possession of his truck to his daughter Jill, along with express consent to use it.
On September 25th, 2005, a companion of Jill, named Pelley, is driving Mr. McIvor’s Ford pickup truck. Jill is the passenger. Pelley causes an accident that seriously injures the plaintiffs. Mr. McIvor does not know that anyone but his daughter has been driving the truck.
The plaintiffs claim that Mr. McIvor is responsible for damages, believing his implied consent was given to Pelley. If the Judge agrees, Mr. McIvor becomes vicariously liable for Pelley’s negligence.
The Judge explains that when trying to determine whether or not implied consent has been given, the evidence must establish that a vehicle owner had both an expectation and willingness that a 3rd party – such as Pelley – would drive the vehicle.
The Judge says that there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. McIvor had an expectation and willingness that Pelley would drive the pickup. He believes that Mr. McIvor was simply not aware that Pelley had been driving the vehicle.
The Judge dismisses the plaintiff’s claim against Mr. McIvor, excusing him of vicarious liability.
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