February 10, 2021 | Car Accidents
Getting into a vehicle accident is a scary and terrifying experience for everybody involved. One of the most crucial aspects of the aftermath of a car accident is determining liability so insurance carriers can provide settlements. But what happens if somebody else causes an accident while driving your vehicle? Could you be held liable for the actions of that driver?
Here, we want to discuss a vehicle owner’s liability if another driver crashes while operating their vehicle. You may not think twice about letting a family member or friend drive your vehicle, but you need to know the implications of doing so beforehand.
Many people think that insurance follows the driver, but that is not the case. Insurance applies to the vehicle that is covered. This means that if you let a friend or family member drive your vehicle, they will generally be covered by the insurance policy you have.
This is important to understand, particularly if there is an accident that leads to severe injuries or significant property damage. We should look at various car accident situations that can arise when someone else is driving your car.
The most important thing you need to know when somebody else borrows your car is that you must have insurance on the vehicle. Suppose for a moment that you do not have insurance on your car, but you decide to let a driver who has insurance on their personal vehicle operate your vehicle. This is not going to cut it. The insurance will not carry over to your vehicle. To put it bluntly, your vehicle should not move if it does not have insurance. Not only is this illegal, but it could put you in serious financial difficulties should an accident occur.
If you let someone borrow your car and another driver altogether causes a crash, then the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will be responsible for covering damages. Indiana is a fault-based state when it comes to vehicle accidents, meaning that the person who causes the crash is responsible for paying for damages. However, if an investigation determines that the person who borrowed your car was partially responsible for the incident, the total amount of compensation they receive from the other party could be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
If a friend or family member who borrows your car was at fault for an accident, the insurance situation will become more serious. If there were no injuries in the accident, your insurance carrier will be on the line for covering the other party’s property damages. However, if you do not have collision coverage as part of your insurance policy, you will have to pay for damages to your own vehicle.
If the accident caused injuries to the other parties involved, your insurance will also be used to cover the medical expenses of those individuals. However, if their injuries are serious and your insurance does not cover all of their expenses, your friend or family member’s auto insurance coverage could be added on top of yours to ensure that the victim receives the compensation they need.
If the person who borrows your vehicle does not have insurance at all and your insurance coverage limits are exhausted, this places you in a precarious situation. If there is no other insurance plan to cover additional costs after yours had been exhausted, you could be held personally responsible for covering these additional costs because the vehicle was yours and your insurance policy applies.
We are not saying that you should not let someone borrow your car. We are saying that you should be very wary of letting just anybody use your vehicle. If the other party is a known bad driver or if they do not have insurance of their own that could kick in if an accident occurs, it may not be a good idea to let them drive your vehicle. If you have recently been in a serious car accident, contact our Indianapolis car accident attorney today.