Is there a rule that creates a presumption of agencywhen a person who owns a car permits another to drive it-either on a regular basis (like a son or a girlfriend of the owner) or on an irregular basis (say one allows a friend to borrow his car to go to the barber shop or golf course). In the case I have in mind there is no benefit derived by the owner.
Answer: Here are your cases:
Automobiles - Agency - Presumption Driver is Owner's Agent
Norton v. Harmon, 1942 OK 391, 133 P.2d 206, 209-10: Recognizes presumption; accord: Stumpf v. Montgomery, 1924 OK 360, 226 Pac. 65; Hintergardt v. Operators, Inc., 940 F.2d 1386 (10th Cir. 1991): Owner may rebut presumption by preponderance of evidence; accord: Pollard v. Grimes, 1949 OK 225, 210 P.2d 778, 781.
There's a related presumption of permissive use which other states recognize, but I'm unaware of an Oklahoma case on it. See McKirchy v. Ness, 256 Iowa 744, 128 N.W.2d 910, 911 (1964): Driver is presumed to have permission to drive the car. Accord: Fout v. Dietz, 401 Mich. 403, 258 N.W.2d 53, 54 (1977); contra.: State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Eakins, 748 So.2d 765 (Miss. 1999); Marquez v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 53 CalApp.4th 319, 61 Cal.Rptr.2d 557, 558 (1997), Washington v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 709 So.2d 360, 362 (La.Ct.App. 1998
Posted on Thu, November 10, 2011
by Sharon Coleman filed under