What Happens if Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?
Is it a Bad Idea to Loan My Car to a Friend?Collisions on the roadway can lead to a lot of complications. At the very least, you must work with your own insurance company and go through the claims process to ensure repairs to your vehicle are covered. In more complex situations, you may need to work with a variety of insurance companies to cover losses or even file a lawsuit to protect your interests and your future. When a friend or someone else borrows your car and gets into an accident while driving it, the issues can become even more complex. Working with a car accident attorney can help you make heads or tails of the situation and understand what the best steps are for protecting yourself or seeking compensation for your losses. Find out more below about how auto insurance and lawsuits might work if someone else is driving your car when an accident occurs.
In Which Order Do Insurance Companies Pay if Someone Else Drives Your Car and Gets Into an Accident?Which person’s insurance company pays for damages to vehicles and injuries to persons in a car accident depends on the facts of the case. Typically, the insurance company for the vehicle that was at fault in the accident must pay first. So, imagine a case where Mike owns a car and lets Sue borrow it. Sue gets into an accident with Liam. If Sue is at fault in the accident, Mike’s insurance would be the first to pay out. However, if Liam sues Mike and Sue (and their insurance companies) for losses that exceed the maximum payout amounts on Mike’s plan, Sue’s insurance may pay out to make up the difference. If that doesn’t cover the amount awarded, Mike and/or Sue may also become personally liable for the difference. Now, imagine the opposite occurs: Sue is involved in an accident with Liam, and the fault for the collision is with Liam. In this case, Liam’s insurance would be the primary payer. As you can see from these simplified examples, it is imperative that you are careful about who you loan your vehicle to. You only want to loan the vehicle to people you trust to maintain a strong standard of care on the road. This is because you could personally be liable for any damage they cause when operating a vehicle you own.
What About Your Spouse or Other People Living in Your Home?Your auto insurance plan may automatically include certain people as beneficiaries or drivers under your plan. That includes your spouse and other licensed drivers living in your home who are related to you, such as your teen children. These people would have the same coverage under your plan that you do. There would not be a second insurance payor that might become involved as there is when someone borrows your vehicle. An exception to this is if you exclude someone from your insurance policy. For example, if a teen driver gets into a few fender benders, parents may exclude them from an auto policy because insurance is getting too expensive otherwise. In this case, the teen driver can’t drive your car—even with your permission—because they are not covered to do so. If you exclude a driver from your policy and they operate your vehicle with your permission and cause an accident, you could be personally liable for any damages they cause without any help from your insurance in covering those costs.
What Happens If You Didn’t Give Permission for the Person to Use Your Car?The outcome is different if someone uses your car without your permission. If you can demonstrate that you didn’t give permission for someone to drive your car, you and your insurance company may not be liable for any damage they might have caused in an accident. In such a case, the driver’s insurance would be the primary payer for any claims. In a case where you didn’t give permission and the driver doesn’t have their own insurance plan, the other party in the accident may have to turn to their own insurance policy to cover losses.
Why You Should Work With High Stakes Injury LawAs you can see, simply knowing which insurance company should be the primary payer in the case of an auto accident can be a complex matter. That’s even truer when an accident involves more than one or two vehicles. Whether you’re in a single-vehicle accident, a pile-up involving many cars, or dealing with vehicle damage after a friend drove your car, a personal injury lawyer can help. Contact High Stakes Injury Law following your auto accident to discuss:
- Whether you may be dealing with a level of fault. Nevada is a comparative negligence state. How much you can collect in compensation depends on how liable you were in an accident. If you or the driver of your vehicle was more than 50 percent at fault in an accident, you can’t file a claim against another driver, but they might file one against you.
- What your options for compensation are. A personal injury attorney can help you understand what damages you may have and how you can seek compensation.
- Whether you should settle or take your case to court. An experienced car accident attorney can evaluate your case to help you understand how strong it is. This lets you know whether you should settle for what an insurance company is offering or continue to make a case in court for increased compensation.