What Happens If Someone Gets into an Accident With Your Car?
Imagine this: your roommate’s vehicle is in the repair shop and he asks to borrow your car for the afternoon. You say yes. A few hours later, you get a phone call from him — he’s been in a car accident. What do you do?
It may not seem like a common occurrence, but you’d be surprised to learn how many drivers end up in accidents while in someone else’s car. This is why it’s crucial to know about your responsibilities and risks of liability if someone who borrows your vehicle gets into an accident.
Someone Else was Driving my Car and Had an Accident, Are They Covered By Their Own Insurance?
One commonly believed myth about car insurance is that the coverage follows the driver, not the car. This is incorrect. If someone else was driving your car while an accident occurred, you may still be held liable — even if you weren’t present. Although someone else was driving, the coverage is for your car, so any damages or injuries may fall under a claim for your own insurance policy.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Your auto insurance policy should cover a few important topics and terms related to this type of scenario. Be sure to read the information under the section titled “Permissible Use” and review who else is listed on your policy (usually, it’s those living in your same household; but don’t make any assumptions. Look it up to be sure).
Exceptions to the Rule
Although it may be difficult to prove you didn’t give permission for someone else to use your car if it was taken without your knowledge, some situations may pass on the responsibility of being liable to the person who was driving. One example of this exception may be theft: if you have proof that a stranger in fact stole your car and was in an accident, you may likely not be held responsible for it.
Another exception may be a friend or family member who took the car without your permission. If they have insurance of their own, it might be possible to have their policy cover the damages. However, if they are uninsured, your own coverage will likely be expected to pay.
How You Can Protect Yourself in Advance?
Information and knowledge is always key in protecting yourself from being held liable for something you weren’t involved with. Make sure you understand your policy and its terms so that you know what to expect in an event like this one. If parts of your policy are unclear or confusing to you, call your insurance provider to get clarification.
Another easy way to avoid this situation is by limiting who you allow to drive your car. Only give your keys to those you trust most, and limit it to those who have had few car accidents and clean driving records. Even quick trips or errands can present a risk.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at Clark Law for a Free Consultation
If you lent your car to someone who ended up in an auto accident, talk to one of our attorneys to discuss your options; especially if the driver was uninsured, unlicensed, or impaired. At Clark Law, we are able to represent you through all phases of your legal case — from accident to settlement.
We understand that each car accident is unique, and we aggressively pursue your case to the fullest possible extent and work our hardest to garner you the maximum amount possible. Learn more today by contacting us.