Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 55: Motor and Other Vehicles

Chapter 10: Accidents, Arrests, Crimes and Penalties

Part 3: Penalties and Procedure

TCA 55-10-311: Prima facie evidence of ownership of automobile and use in owner's business -- No vicarious liability by dealers for loaner vehicles

(a) In all actions for injury to persons and/or to property caused by the negligent operation or use of any automobile, auto truck, motorcycle, or other motor propelled vehicle within this state, proof of ownership of the vehicle shall be prima facie evidence that the vehicle at the time of the cause of action sued on was being operated and used with authority, consent and knowledge of the owner in the very transaction out of which the injury or cause of action arose, and the proof of ownership likewise shall be prima facie evidence that the vehicle was then and there being operated by the owner, or by the owner's servant, for the owner's use and benefit and within the course and scope of the servant's employment. The prima facie evidence rules of the preceding sentence shall also apply in cases of the negligent operation of a vehicle being test-driven by a prospective purchaser with the knowledge and consent of the seller or the seller's agent, whether or not the seller or the seller's agent is present in the vehicle at the time of the alleged negligent operation.

(b) Any automobile dealer who provides a loaner vehicle to a customer without charge while the customer's vehicle is being serviced or repaired by the dealer shall not be vicariously liable under any vicarious liability theory, to any person injured as the result of an accident caused in whole or in part by a customer driving a loaner vehicle provided by the dealer where the dealer was provided with proof of insurance by the customer prior to the customer being provided with the loaner vehicle.

(c) This section is in the nature of remedial legislation and it is the legislative intent that it be given a liberal construction.

History: Acts 1921, ch. 162, § 1; Shan. Supp., § 3079a198b1; mod. Code 1932, § 2701; Acts 1957, ch. 123, §§ 1, 2; 1974, ch. 750, § 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 59-1037; Acts 2012, ch. 884, § 1.