Frequently Asked Questions - Am I Liable If Someone Else Is Driving My Vehicle?
If someone else gets involved in an automobile accident while operating your vehicle, your automobile insurance company is there to protect you. If you let a family member or a friend operate your vehicle and they get into an accident, the owner of the vehicle could be liable for the accident as your insurance company will have to cover the damages that your family member or friend caused while operating your vehicle.
The person that was operating your vehicle is liable for the accident, but the owner of the vehicle can also be held responsible for any damages incurred which is known as owner’s liability or negligent entrustment. The person that gets injured can file a lawsuit against the driver and the owner of the vehicle. So, if the driver is not listed on your insurance and operates your vehicle, your insurance still applies in case of an automobile accident. In the other hand, if the other driver was at fault for the accident, then the at fault driver’s insurance company will cover the damages and you don’t have to worry about your insurance.
If the person driving your car has their own auto insurance, their insurance may act as secondary coverage to yours. Even though the person that is operating your vehicle is fully responsible, your own auto insurance coverage will still be considered as primary coverage. For Example, if one of your family members is operating your vehicle and gets involved in an automobile accident and they have their own automobile insurance, since your insurance company insures the vehicle, your insurance company is responsible for the damages. If you have limited coverage, your insurance company will cover up to the policy limits you chose. If the damages are more than your policy limits, then your family members insurance may cover the remainder of the damages.
There is going to be some instance where your insurer may refuse or deny the claim or refuse to make payments:
- Undisclosed driver in the household or an excluded driver
If you fail to disclose a driver to your insurance company in order to avoid your insurance premium to go up because of a bad driving record or a new driver and that driver gets into an accident, your insurance company will not pay for the damages that the undisclosed driver or excluded driver causes.
- Someone that takes your car without your permission
You might be financially responsible if you can’t prove that you did not give your permission and an automobile accident happens. It is very hard to prove that you did not give your permission to drive your car.
A misrepresentation of a claim can also void your insurance after being involved in a car accident. There are three types of misrepresentation:
- Fraudulent Misrepresentation
A fraudulent misrepresentation can occur when you commit a false statement of a material fact in order to obtain illegal benefits. If you knowingly commit a false statement and your insurance company can prove it, they have the right to deny all claims and pursue damages against those that misrepresent a material fact.
- Innocent Misrepresentation
An innocent misrepresentation can also occur in good faith. One example of an innocent misrepresentation is when you are selling a car not knowing that the car had transmission problems. So, if you didn’t know that the car had transmission problems, then you would only be liable for an innocent misrepresentation. You believed that a false statement was true.
- Negligent Misrepresentation
A negligent misrepresentation can occur when a person makes a statement without regard to the true facts. Example, if you tell someone that your cell phone is brand new and it is in fact it is three years old and it has been heavily used, then it can be considered negligent misrepresentation.
What happens if someone steals your car and then has an accident? If someone steals your car and gets into an accident, you are not liable for any damages or injuries that person causes in your car, but your insurance company will cover all the damages if you have the right coverage.
Your insurance rate might also be affected if someone else gets into an accident while driving your car. Your insurance premium might increase if a claim for property damage, personal injury or bodily injury is filed against your insurance company. Car insurance works the same way when you lend a car and when you are driving it yourself.
What should I do after someone else driving my car gets into an accident? You should act quickly and confirm if anyone was injured, and if there are any injuries, the injured person should seek medical attention right away. You should also call the police and file a report. You should also document where the accident happened and take pictures of the vehicle and the scene of the accident. Exchange contact and insurance information after making sure that you and or the passengers are not injured and report the accident to your insurance company regardless of who was at fault.
Call a personal injury attorney after a car accident
The very first step after a car accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Every car accident is different, and you might need legal counsel based on your circumstances.
If the accident was not the fault of the person that was driving your car, an experienced attorney can make sure you are compensated for damages. Even if you were not physically in the car when the accident happened, the at fault driver should be held accountable for any and all damages to your vehicle and the injuries to the person that was driving your car.
Insurance companies will look for ways to either deny the claim or payout less than the accident case is worth. Trial Pro, P.A . will protect your rights and will fight for the recovery you deserve.