A automotive owner is vicariously liable for any injury or damage brought on by the driving force of their borrowed automotive, even when the owner locations situations on — or revokes — consent whereas the driving force remains to be in possession of the vehicle, the Alberta Attraction Court docket has dominated.
“The main instances are Mugford and Garrioch,” the Alberta Attraction Court docket wrote in its resolution, launched Wednesday. “These instances affirm that the legislation doesn’t acknowledge conditional consent. As soon as the owner consents to the driving force having possession of the vehicle, the owner accepts the danger of what that driver may do…
“The breaching of any such situations by the driving force is just not efficient, in legislation, to revoke the consent given and displace the owner’s vicarious legal responsibility. If the driving force is in an accident whereas in violation of one of many situations the owner remains to be vicariously liable for any injury induced.”
In Mansour v Rampersad, Krista Pinksen owned a automotive, and her husband allowed Roger Rampersad to make use of the vehicle to run a couple of errands. Rampersad was to return the automotive later that day, however he by no means did.
Pinksen reported her vehicle stolen two days later, after trying to contact Rampersad. The investigating police officer contacted Rampersad by phone; Rampersad suggested the officer the automotive was parked within the Summerside neighbourhood. The police officer, with Pinksen’s consent, advised Rampersad he had till 5 a.m. the following morning to return the vehicle, failing which it might be listed as stolen within the police database.
Rampersad didn’t return the vehicle by 5 a.m. Pinksen reported it stolen. After the 5 a.m. deadline handed, Rampersad was in a collision with Mansour. Rampersad was charged with six offences, together with theft of the vehicle.
For insurance coverage functions, if Rampersad was driving with Pinksen’s consent on the time of the accident, he can be lined by her insurance coverage. If not, the declare can be answered below the Motor Vehicle Accidents Declare Act.
Pinksen requested a decrease courtroom to dismiss Mansour’s declare. She mentioned she was not vicariously liable for the accident as a result of, as of 5 a.m., Rampersad didn’t have her consent to drive the vehicle on the time of the accident. The decrease courtroom upheld Pinksen’s declare.
However the Attraction Court docket overturned the ruling, noting consent to own the vehicle can’t be conditional.
“It must be famous that this deeming of vicarious legal responsibility is a matter of insurance coverage legislation,” the courtroom dominated. “The owner can be vicariously liable for injury induced even when the phrases of the consent are breached.”
The courtroom mentioned imposing situations on consent after possession of the automotive “is just not legally efficient” till the vehicle is returned to the possession of the owner. It gave the next instance:
“Imposing a situation on the consent after possession has been turned over isn’t any simpler than imposing a situation on the consent earlier than possession is surrendered,” the Attraction Court docket noticed. “The next sorts of conditional consent are equally ineffective:
“(a) previous to the owner delivering up possession to the driving force the owner stipulates that there is no such thing as a consent to drive on gravel roads, or
“(b) after the driving force has departed, the owner contacts him and says: ‘By the way in which, I don’t consent to driving on gravel roads.’
“In both occasion, if the driving force subsequently drives on gravel roads, the owner remains to be vicariously liable for any ensuing injury.”
It follows a situation to return the automotive by a sure time is equally ineffective, the courtroom discovered.
“On this case Mr. Rampersad had the consent of the owner to convey the vehicle again,” the Attraction Court docket discovered. “The police officer advised him, with Ms. Pinksen’s concurrence, that he had consent to own the vehicle till 5 a.m. The consent was conditional, however violation of the situation by Mr. Rampersad protecting the vehicle longer didn’t have the impact of negating Ms. Pinksen’s vicarious legal responsibility.”
Function picture courtesy of iStock.com/tommy