Posted by Jason L. Call |
Pay it forward, what goes around comes around, the golden rule – all familiar phrases that quickly come to mind when someone asks you for a favor. So when a trusted family member or friend asks to borrow your car, truck, or other motor vehicle, you most likely hand them the keys without thinking twice. Sure, accidents happen and collisions occur, but that only happens to “other people,” right?
The question ‘what happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident’ is probably a question that has not really come across your mind, until now. If this unfortunate occurrence recently happened to you, this post will help you understand how liability is determined in such cases. It is important to know that you could hold some blame even if you were not driving the car during the accident.
If someone has been involved in an accident while driving your vehicle, consult the Jefferson City, Missouri Personal Injury Attorneys at Call & Gentry Law Group today to discuss your legal obligations and options.
How Does a Crash, Collision, or Accident Affect My Insurance?
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases, automobile insurance applies to the vehicle, not the driver. This means that your insurance will almost certainly provide coverage for the collision even if someone else was driving your car at the time of the accident. If the crash was small, a fender-bender or tap on the bumper, so to speak, the ordeal may be minor and not cause you too much of a headache. However, if one or more persons suffered injury during the collision, things could get much more complicated.
Who Was the At-Fault Driver?
Obviously, no one wants their friend or family member to get into an accident, regardless of the circumstances. However, all things considered equal, it is always better to have your brother, sister, mother, father, or whoever else was driving your vehicle to not be the at-fault driver. In all likelihood, the other driver’s insurance will cover some or all of the personal injuries and property damage costs if the driver of your vehicle was not at-fault.
On the other hand, if your son, daughter, college roommate, neighbor, or other individual driving your vehicle caused the accident, you and your insurance company may be held liable. Hopefully, no injuries occurred, in which case you and your insurance company need only cover the property damages. However, if the accident resulted in severe bodily harm, you and your insurance coverage may have to pay for the victim’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.
Should the damages exceed the limits of your insurance coverage, the coverage of the friend or family member who was driving your vehicle could be added (“stacked”) on top of your coverage to help compensate the injured party, but it will ultimately depend on the specific language in each policy. Always ask whether the person you let drive your car is licensed and has insurance coverage before letting them borrow your vehicle. If not, be aware that you and your insurance may be liable for the entirety of the damages caused by the crash, collision, or motor vehicle accident.
What If Someone Steals Your Car?
You now know the answer to the question “what happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident.” But, what if someone steals your car or takes it without asking your permission? Are you liable for the costs and damages resulting from a collision caused by that same driver?
If the person driving your car during an accident is a stranger who stole your vehicle, and you can prove that they did not have permission to drive your car, it is unlikely you will be held liable for the damages. If a person you know, such as a family member or friend, took your car without your permission, the question becomes more difficult and will depend on the specifics of the situation, and more importantly, past experience – have they previously driven the vehicle with your permission, how often did they drive it, and their relationship to you as the owner of the automobile.
Talk to a Jefferson City / Mid-Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
If any of the above instances has happened to you, you should consult an experienced insurance attorney or personal injury lawyer in Jefferson City, Missouri, mid-Missouri, Cole County, or whatever other part of the state you call home. At Call & Gentry Law Group, we are dedicated to helping you and your family get the compensation you deserve. If someone was involved in an accident while driving your car, get a trusted expert on your team to stand by your side to make sure the insurance companies do not give you the runaround. We are always eager to assist injured victims in our community and would be happy to help in any way we can. Get in touch with us today at (573) 644-6090 to talk to a Jefferson City, Missouri Personal Injury Attorney about your case.