When You Loan Your Vehicle And The Driver Has An Accident, Who Is Liable?
We all have a friend or relative who has asked to use our vehicle at some time or another. When you trust someone, it is generous to let them use your car or truck. But when you give them your keys, you may do so with a pit in your stomach. What if they have an accident, total your car or – worst of all – get hurt?
When Someone Crashes While Driving Your Car
It is sadly all too common for people borrowing friends’ or relatives’ cars to have accidents. In these cases, who is liable for your damages? Whose insurance covers the accident and injuries? Who pays for the other parties’ damages?
Your answer to these questions comes from your car accident lawyer. A skilled motor vehicle accident attorney can help you understand your rights, liability and how you must protect yourself and your finances.
Meanwhile, understand that no two car accident cases are the same. This is particularly true when a friend or relative is driving your car when that accident occurs. There are many factors influencing liability in these cases, determining who pays the damages. Some of those factors include:
- Residency: If the person driving your vehicle lives in your household that may mean your insurance policy covers that individual just as it does you. If this is true of your car’s driver in the accident, you will have to prove they live with you. Of course, if you will be loaning your car to anyone who lives with you, you should try to have them added to your insurance policy first to prevent these problems.
- Permission to be driving your vehicle: Whether you permitted the person to drive your vehicle is important when that driver crashes. If they were driving without your permission, you are not liable except to pay for your own vehicle’s damages.
- Driver exclusions: If you opt to exclude specific drivers in your household from your insurance, you are usually not liable if that person uses your vehicle and has an accident. These excluded drivers may be someone you do not trust for driving your vehicle or people with their own insurance coverage.
- Fault in the accident: Obviously fault plays a big role in who is liable for damages in any car accident. If the person driving your car was not at fault, then damages should be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- Insurance coverage: Review your insurance policy before letting anyone drive your car. Every policy is different, so you need to know how you are covered before letting someone else get behind the wheel under your liability.
- Policy limits: If the accident is severe, damages may extended beyond your coverage. In these cases, the driver of your car may have their own coverage to fill in gaps. But their insurance policy must cover that driver when they borrow a vehicle.
- Employee status: When an employee wrecks your car, this changes matters. This is part of the law called imputed negligence or vicarious liability. This means having a specific relationship, such as that of employment, means you are responsible for damages caused by that person during performance of their job duties.
You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many uncertainties in auto accidents. This is particularly true in the event of an accident occurring with one of your friends or loved ones borrowing your car. These matters can become very confusing and complex. This is why it is important to protect yourself and your finances by having the help of a personal injury lawyer in your state.
You should always contact a reputable personal injury lawyer after an auto accident, particularly one like this. This type of lawyer specializes in motor vehicle accident law and cases just like yours. The lawyer will first examine the circumstances of your case and involved insurance policies. They will then provide insight into your case, helping you understand your liability and helping you save as much as possible in your accident case.