Car accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. We all know that if you are involved in a car accident, the responsible party will cover the damages. But what happens if someone uses your car and gets in an accident? Who will cover the auto insurance? Will your insurance company approve your claims?
This blog article will go through this tricky situation. We will help you uncover the answer to this question and provide possible legal options you can take. Our car accident lawyer is an experienced personal injury attorney. If you are involved in a car accident, contact our law firm now for a free consultation!
Who Is Responsible if Someone Is Driving My Car and Gets into an Accident?
The liability for the accident can be appointed to the at-fault driver or the car owner. Most states impose that the vehicle owner can be accountable for any damages that occurred during the vehicle operation. This law does not excuse the owner’s responsibility even though another person is driving the car.
In this case, the auto insurance policy follows the vehicle and not the person driving your car. Once you allow another person to use your vehicle, you are responsible for any damages they might cause while operating your vehicle.
However, the car owner’s insurance policy is limited. In the event of a car collision, your insurance company will only cover the following damages:
- $15,000 in bodily injuries or death per person;
- $30,000 in personal injury or death per accident happened;
- $5,000 in property damages claim.
The at-fault driver will shoulder anything that exceeds the above provision.
Should I Still File a Claim Even if It’s the Other Driver’s Fault?
There are instances when the responsible driver is a third party in a car collision case. Suppose the driver accountable for the accident is not the one driving your car. In that case, it is still advisable to file a lawsuit against them.
As established above, your own insurance company can only cover a limited amount of sustained damages. But you can still file a lawsuit against the responsible driver for the amount exceeding your auto insurance coverage. In addition, if the person driving your car sustained bodily injuries, they can also sue the responsible driver for medical bills and other damages.
The at-fault driver’s insurance will kick in once their auto insurance company approves your claim. In states like California, the law requires California drivers to carry comprehensive car insurance policies.
Our car accident attorney is experienced in handling similar cases. If you encounter a similar accident, contact our law firm now.
What if the Person Driving My Car Has Their Own Insurance Policy?
According to the state’s law, the owner’s auto insurance carrier will act as the primary coverage for car accidents. In contrast, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will only serve as secondary insurance. Most car insurance policies allow a certain amount to cover bodily injuries and property damages.
It is a common misconception to assume that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will cover the damages. The laws surrounding car insurance policy and third-party liability are complicated. You must seek professional help from an attorney. If you find yourself in such a predicament, contact our law offices for a free consultation.
Who Should Be Liable for the Injuries?
Car accident victims will do their best to compensate for their sustained damages. Regardless if they are driving their own car or someone else is operating their motor vehicle. Accident victims who suffered injuries from a car crash using a borrowed car will need to file a personal injury claim with their own insurance company.
The victim’s insurance company will handle the reimbursement process. They will communicate with the negligent driver’s insurance carrier so the injured victim can receive their compensation. A car collision victim can receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
The injured victim must obtain the at-fault driver’s contact and insurance information. At the same time, the reckless driver and the car owner should also get a hold of the victim’s insurance and contact information.
If you suffered an injury from a vehicle collision or are involved in one, you need to seek medical services immediately. Even if you think that you are doing well, it’s still best to have a medical professional evaluate you for any damages.
What Happens if a Person Who Borrows My Car Is the One At Fault?
There are instances when the at-fault driver is the one driving your car. In this situation, things can escalate differently. As stated in earlier sections, auto insurance follows the car and not the driver.
Because of this, the car owner will need to use their auto insurance policy for any vehicular damages. However, if the owner’s insurance coverage is insufficient, the at-fault driver will need to offer their insurance coverage to pay the remaining damages. Unfortunately, it is the same scenario for any injuries or death caused by a negligent driver.
An accident victim will need to file a claim for their injuries and other damages. The primary coverage will kick in. Any damages not covered by the primary insurance will fall on the driver’s policy.
Lending your car to another person could result in unwanted liabilities. Because of this reason, you must refrain from lending your vehicle to someone you barely know.
Permissive Use vs. Non-Permissive Use
Vehicle Code Section 17150 provides the legal context of permissive use. This law states that if the owner knowingly lends their motor vehicle to another person, they also accept the liability for any damages they might cause while operating their car. Providing permission to another person is proof of permissive use of the vehicle.
The extent of this law can also reach the legalities of the owner’s auto insurance policy. It’s important to remember that the principle behind auto insurance policies follow the vehicle and not the policyholder. Suppose the person you lend your car to is responsible for an accident. In that case, your insurance will act as the primary coverage for the damages injuries the driver caused.
In contrast, a non-permissive use indicates that the driver is not authorized to operate the vehicle. The car owner is not responsible for any damages the driver might cause in this situation. This is also applicable to stolen cars.
What Happens if Someone Using My Car Has No Insurance and Gets Into an Accident?
As established in the previous section, your auto insurance as the car owner will act as the primary coverage. In contrast, the driver’s insurance will only kick in if your coverage is insufficient. Unfortunately, the same situation will occur if the driver borrowing your car does not have insurance coverage.
As the primary insurance holder, you will need to pay the remaining claims if the driver using your car does not have insurance. However, you still have the right to file a lawsuit against them. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your case and open up possible legal options you may take in such a situation.
Things You Should Do After Someone Else Wrecks Your Car
After the accident, you need to take steps to recover compensation for the damages they incurred. Your goal as the victim of a car collision is to preserve as much evidence as you can. Even if you are not driving your car, you are still the primary insurance holder, and keeping proof is what you need to do as soon as possible.
Your time to dispute the accident that damaged your car is limited in all states. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you with the legal process and obtain your compensation efficiently.
Document the Accident
Following the accident, the driver must call the police right away. If you are the vehicle driver, you need to start taking photographs or video footage of the accident. These shreds of evidence are vital when proving your claims to the insurance company. If you are not the driver, you need to advise the person using your car on what they should do following a car accident.
If witnesses are present, you can also try to obtain their contact information. These witnesses can testify on the accounts of the accident. You can also obtain a copy of the police report of your accident.
If you, the driver, or the passenger sustained an injury, you also need to contact emergency services. It’s essential to remember that accident damages can manifest after a few days from the accident date. It’s better to keep yourself prepared.
Understand the Rules of Your Insurance Policy
You must understand your auto insurance policy. Although all states have a minimum required auto insurance coverage for all drivers, your policy might differ. It would help to know the damages covered and how much is covered for each damage (i.e., property damages, bodily injuries, wrongful death).
There are also factors in which your premiums might increase. Knowing these situations can help you avoid problems that might propel your insurance deductibles. When you hire an attorney, they can also help you obtain this information for you.
Call a Car Accident Attorney
Hiring a lawyer to assist you with the legal process of your car accident case provides a lot of advantages. They can help you negotiate and maximize the amount of compensation you can receive for the damages dealt with your car. Even if you are not the one driving your car when it was damaged, you can still file a claim with the help of an attorney.
Furthermore, car accident cases vary from each other. It’s vital that you thoroughly understand the legalities behind your case to take appropriate legal actions.
Insurance companies will do their best to look for a way to deny your claims. Seeking the help of an experienced attorney can prevent this from happening.
Ways to Protect Your Car Insurance
Now that you know the possible risks that come with lending your car to another person, it’s critical to protect your car insurance. Your first instinct might be not to allow anyone, even a friend, to borrow your car. While this is logical, lending your car to someone you trust can be inevitable.
What you need to do is to understand the finer details of your car insurance policy. You need to speak with your insurance representative and ask about the extent of your insurance coverage. Ask them what accident does your insurance covers.
You might even find out that your insurance is lacking, and there are policies you want to include in your insurance. Doing this will help you ensure that you are prepared for an unexpected incident that might consume your insurance coverage. Accidents happen unexpectedly, and the best way to combat this is to remain prepared.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer to Help You with Your Case
Car accidents can happen anytime, especially when you least expect them. Suppose a family member or a friend borrowed your car and got involved in an accident. You must speak with a local personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Employing the professional assistance of personal injury attorneys can help you maximize your compensation and build a solid defense for your case.
Contact our law firm now if your car is involved in a car accident! You can reach us by dialing +1 415-870-7293. You also have an option to submit your case on our site by completing our contact form.