Are the Parents Liable for a Teen's Deadly Crash?

Palm Beach County: In a tragic recent car accident, 17-year-old Noah Galle was traveling at more than 150 mph. He rear-ended another vehicle on 441 in Delray Beach around 11 pm on January 26th. The vehicle had 6 people inside. The 6 people were farmworkers on their way home from Pero Family Farms. The vehicle that Galle crashed into redirected toward the median, rolled multiple times and came to a final rest upside-down in the grass. 5 of the 6 accident victims died at the scene, while the 6th died later after being transported to Delray Medical Center. Although some of the occupants were not wearing seatbelts, given the speed of the vehicle and severity of the crash, they likely would have suffered the same fate.

Although Noah is 17, he will likely be adjudicated as an adult in any criminal legal proceedings.

If his parents were aware of the content on Galle’s Instagram account, or the fact that he was offering monetary prizes for correct guesses of his exorbitant speeds of over 180 miles an hour, they could potentially be held liable for negligent entrustment of that vehicle to their child. The plaintiffs could potentially argue that if the parents had seen these videos, or otherwise knew what he was doing, they should have taken away his privilege to drive that vehicle.

Negligent entrustment entails:

One who supplies directly or through a third person a chattel for use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience, or otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk of harm to himself and others whom the supplier should expect to share in or be endangered by its use, is subject to liability for physical harm resulting to them. Fina v. Hennarichs, 19 So. 3d 1081, 1085 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009 (quoting section 390 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts (1965)).) Negligent entrustment is a potentially important tool for personal injury cases and their clients to be aware of because it allows recovery from another party (person or entity) that may have more assets or insurance than the actual negligent perpetrator.

If you were hit by a vehicle operated by someone other than the owner, you may be able to sue the person or entity who negligently entrusted a dangerous instrumentality to another person.
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