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Who Is Responsible for an Accident
Driving Someone Else’s Car?

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Navigating car accident claims is not always straightforward – an added layer of complexity can quickly arise when the vehicle involved in a collision isn't owned by one of its drivers.

If your friend or family member borrowed your car and met with an unfortunate accident, you may wonder how the claims process work. 

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP, our attorneys have years of experience handling complex car accident claims and can help you determine the value of your claim by considering many factors, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  

Quick Summary

  • Depending on the terms of the policy, your insurance may cover initial damages to other drivers or property and any damage to your own vehicle if someone else operates it and causes an accident.
  • Your insurance policy could cover damages to other drivers, their property, and your own car if someone else driving your vehicle gets into an accident.
  • Your insurance premium could increase if someone else causes an accident, even if you were not in the vehicle.

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Who Is Held Responsible For Damages If Someone Else Drove Your Car And Causes A Car Accident?

A damaged car caused by an accidentIf someone else drove your car and caused a car accident, the at-fault driver is the one held responsible.

Car insurance usually follows the car; if the person driving your car is at fault, your car insurance company will cover the damages. If that weren’t the case, the at-fault driver’s insurance would cover medical bills and property damage. 

It is worth noting that your insurance coverage extends to people who have permission to drive your car [1].

If your teen lends the car to his friend without your permission, you will need to get in contact with your insurer and a lawyer to determine whether you or your auto insurance company are legally liable for any accident-related claims.

Related Article: Personal Injury & Accidents Lawsuits

What Should You Do After An Accident Driving Someone Else’s Car?

After an accident driving someone else’s car, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention if necessary, take pictures of any injuries that may have occurred, and obtain the contact information of the driver and any witnesses.

After this, contact the police to report the accident. Then, you should also inform the car owner about the accident.

Lastly, you should contact your insurance company; to avoid admitting fault or making any statement that may be used against you in court or when filing a claim with your insurer.

Can Someone Drive My Car And Be Covered By My Insurance?

A woman driving a car happilyYes, someone can drive your car and be covered by your insurance as long as they have your permission to drive.

However, checking with your insurance company before allowing someone else to drive your vehicle is essential to ensure you're adequately covered.

The car owner's insurance will not apply no matter who is driving; insurance policies and state laws can vary for each situation. 

If you don’t have comprehensive or collision coverage in your policy and someone borrows your vehicle and damages it, your insurance company will not cover the costs of repairing the damage [2]. 

Related Article: Determinating Car Accident Fault

What If the Person Driving Your Car Owns An Auto Insurance Policy?

If the person driving your car owns an auto insurance policy and something goes wrong, it may provide coverage above your regular insurance coverage [4]. 

The car owner’s insurance policy will act as the primary coverage if the person driving your car has been found legally at fault and had permission to use the car. 

If the damages caused by the vehicle are higher than your policy limits, then the driver’s insurance may pay the remaining.

However, if the driver was using your car without your permission, he will be held liable, and his insurance will have to pay for the damages caused.

“If your friend is at fault for an accident, your policy will likely pay up to its maximum limits for injury or damage caused. After the limits are exhausted, your friend’s insurance may step in to pay additional costs, or both of you could be sued for damages.”
- Lora Shinn, Personal Finance Expert at Investopedia

How Do You Prove You Gave Someone Permission To Drive Your Car?

A person writing an email using a laptopTo prove you gave someone permission to drive your car, you need an e-mail confirmation, handwritten note, or even a verbal agreement followed by a written confirmation from both parties. 

Be sure that the agreement includes information such as who is allowed to drive the car and when, as well as the car's condition at the time of signing. 

Additionally, document any evidence that may be available; if applicable, snap some pictures or keep a log of times and dates that the driver was operating your vehicle. 

Related Article: Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident

What If I Let A Friend Use My Car When He Should Not Be Driving?

A person lending a car to a friend

If you let a friend use your car when he should not be driving, you can be held liable for the damages.

As mentioned above, the person who has permission to drive a car is often covered by car insurance. However, if a person negligently entrusted the vehicle to someone who is a risk on the road, he may be responsible for the damages.

Negligent entrustment claims generally arise in the following scenarios:

  1. Entrusting someone with your vehicle, even if you knew or should have known that the vehicle could harm others due to the borrower’s age or inexperience.
  2. Giving the keys to an intoxicated person to drive home after a night out;
  3. Lending the car to an elderly person with dementia.
  4. Lending your car to someone who has lost their license because they drove recklessly.

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If you feel your right was violated on any of these matters, contact a car accident attorney, who can help protect your rights.

FAQs

What To Do After Someone Else Drove Your Car And Crashed It?

After someone else drives your car and crashes it, you should make sure you or the driver documents the accident, calls the police, and contact a car accident lawyer.

What Happens If A Friend Driving My Car Left The Scene Of An Accident?

If the friend driving your car left the scene of an accident, you will still be liable for insurance coverage. You will not be held responsible for your actions, although fleeing the scene is considered a misdemeanor or felony.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorney

When you are driving someone else's vehicle, and a car accident occurs, complicated legal complications may arise. The stakes are considerably higher when there is significant damage or severe injuries.

Getting the legal advice of a car accident attorney is essential. At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we can help you by gathering evidence, proving liability, and negotiating for the settlement you need to recover your damages.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the details.


References:

  1. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/can-someone-drive-my-car-and-be-covered-on-my-insurance/
  2. https://www.valuepenguin.com/collision-comprehensive-car-insurance

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