You are generally not personally liable for damages when someone causes an accident while driving your car. However, your insurance will likely cover the victims’ expenses and losses when this occurs.
Auto insurance usually goes with the vehicle, not the driver. This means that when someone who is not a driver listed on your policy crashes your car, your insurance should still payout. For the victim, this coverage will be similar to what would apply if you had been behind the wheel.
Does My Insurance Cover Damages in an Accident Caused By Someone Driving My Car?
Most states have fault-based auto insurance systems that allow victims to hold the negligent driver responsible for the harm they suffered. To this end, if another driver caused your friend to crash your car, you can hold that driver accountable for the damage, and your friend can seek compensation for their medical care and other losses.
If your friend driving your car caused the car accident, your auto liability insurance should cover the damages sustained by any accident victims. If they have one, your friend’s policy may cover any additional expenses suffered by victims above and beyond your coverage limits.
It is important to note, though, that if your friend caused the crash, you would need to have collision coverage to repair your vehicle. You will likely have a deductible. Your premiums may increase, as well.
What if They Did Not Have Permission to Drive My Car?
Under some circumstances, someone drove your car without permission. This is called non-permissive use. Your insurer will likely refuse to pay when this occurs, and the at-fault driver’s insurance will become the primary coverage.
For example, imagine someone stole your car and took it for a joyride. They ran a red light and smashed into another vehicle in the intersection. Your insurance company is unlikely to pay out in this case. Instead, the person who stole your car will be legally liable, and their insurance policy, if they have one, should step in.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
What if the at-Fault Driver Was a Close Family Member?
In most cases, your immediate family members and other relatives living in your household are included as named drivers in your policy. This means that when an accident occurs, and they are behind the wheel, your insurance company will act the same way they would if you were driving.
In some cases, there may be limitations in coverage pertaining to others driving your vehicle. However, accident victims will be able to seek compensation up to the limits of the policy. Beyond that, the driver who caused the crash should be legally responsible for any additional damages, not you.
Can the Vehicle’s Owner Be Found Negligent and Liable in an Accident?
In rare situations, a car owner may be liable for damages after someone causes an accident in their car. This occurs primarily because of a problem known as negligent entrustment, i.e., if you knew there was a reason the driver should not drive, but you loaned them your car anyway. For example, they were drunk, did not have a license, or otherwise threatened the safety of others.
You could also be responsible if the accident occurred because of a lack of maintenance or other concern related to the safety of your vehicle.
How Can an Attorney Help Me After Someone Else Caused a Crash in My Car?
If you have concerns about a traffic accident in the Gulf South, you may want to consider how a personal injury law firm can help. Most provide complimentary consultations so you can learn more about your rights and what to expect. They also represent victims based on contingency fees.
An attorney can answer your questions, help you better understand your case, determine what you should do to protect your rights, and more. You do not have to try to navigate this process on your own. They can also represent you if you need to file a claim or civil suit against an at-fault driver to pursue a financial recovery.
Accident victims only have a limited time to sue the liable parties after a crash. There are exceptions, but these time limits include:
- Alabama: Two years, Ala. Code § 6-2-38
- Arkansas: Three years, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105
- Louisiana: One year, La. Civ. Code Art. 3492
- Mississippi: Three years, Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49
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Contact Our Law Office for Help Navigating This Type of Unusual Car Accident Case
The Morris Bart law firm provides free case consultations for accident victims and those concerned about a collision within the areas we serve. We have 16 locations in four states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Let our firm go to work for you today. Call (800) 537-8185 to speak with a member of our team about your case and legal options for free.
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