You have probably allowed someone else to drive your car at some point, but have you ever thought about what would happen if that person had an accident? Who would be liable? Would your insurance rates go up?
What happens when a friend or relative who is not on your insurance policy crashes your car depends greatly on the circumstances of the accident. In general, the driver of the car is responsible for accidents, but the owner of a vehicle may also be held responsible if he or she knowingly allowed someone else to drive.
Here are some situations that can arise when you allow a friend to drive and he or she has an accident. Bear in mind that the severity of the accident may have a significant impact on how much exposure you have in the situation.
- Your friend causes the accident, but no one is injured. Your insurance coverage will pay for the damage caused in this scenario, but you will be responsible for the deductible. Car insurance policies are required to cover a driver who can reasonably be assumed to be driving your car with your consent in terms of liability. However, if you do not have collision coverage, your insurance company will not pay for the damage to your vehicle. If your friend has insurance coverage, your insurance company may attempt to subrogate the claim or get your friend’s insurance company to reimburse them for what they have paid.
- Your friend causes an accident with bodily injury to someone else. In this scenario, the other party’s PIP insurance will pay first as will your PIP coverage for your friend’s injuries. However, if the bodily injury is serious, your liability coverage will have to pay for additional medical bills. If your friend is insured, it is likely that your insurance company
will attempt to recover at least part of the cost from that company; in addition, your friend’s insurance coverage may be added to the coverage you have to offer more money to the victim.
- Your friend has no insurance but causes an accident with bodily injury. This is the worst situation you can possibly find yourself in, because once your insurance limits are exhausted, you may be personally liable for the remainder of the damages. Never lend a car to someone without his or her own insurance coverage.
- Your friend “borrows” your car without your permission. Most insurance companies will assume that you gave your friend permission to drive your car, but if you did not and can convince the company of this fact, your friend’s insurance will be required to pay.
- Someone steals and crashes your car. In such a case, your collision coverage will probably pay for your car to be fixed. If someone else is injured, you are not likely to be held liable.
If you are the victim of a car accident in which the owner of a vehicle is not responsible for the damages, you may wish to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney about recovering compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit may be the only way you can recover all of the costs of your accident. Contact David & Philpot, PL today for a free, no obligation consultation.