It’s a frustrating situation when an uninsured motorist causes an accident, especially when you suffer injuries as a result. In situations like these, you would typically pursue said uninsured motorist for your damages. But can you still do so when you were driving someone else’s car at the time of the accident?
In most circumstances, whether you were driving your own car or another person’s car won’t matter when it comes to an uninsured motorist claim. You can still pursue compensation for your damages. The only exception to this is if you didn’t have permission to drive the car in the first place. Here’s what you need to know about uninsured motorist claims for your personal injuries when you were driving someone else’s car.
Permission to Drive the Car Is Critical
It’s perfectly fine to use another person’s car when you have their permission, as long as you’re a licensed driver. This doesn’t affect your protections on the law or regarding uninsured motorists. If another driver causes an accident and you are injured in that accident, you can go after their insurance to receive compensation for your damages. In the event that they don’t have insurance, you can sue them.
While you go through that process, your own insurance policy may cover your medical bills. Although there is a saying that insurance policies follow the car and not the driver, the reality is a bit more complicated than that. An insurance policy on a car will typically cover that car regardless of the person driving it, unless it’s someone who is specifically excluded by the insurance company. But your own insurance policy, if it provides injury coverage, will often still apply even if you are injured when driving another person’s car.
Using someone’s car without their permission, even if you know them, would be considered theft. Since you weren’t supposed to be driving the car anyway, you won’t be able to pursue a claim against an uninsured motorist. You could still sue them – anyone can sue anyone, after all. But it’s unlikely that you’d win.
Is It Worth It to Bring a Claim Against an Uninsured Motorist?
Now you know that you’re within your legal rights to pursue an uninsured motorist claim if you were driving someone else’s car. But is that a good idea, or will it be a waste of time?
There’s a misconception out there that you’ll be wasting your time because even if you get a judgement, you won’t see any of the money you’re awarded. This is often untrue. Even though you may not get the entire amount of the judgement upfront, there are ways for the court to help you get your compensation from the defendant.
The most common way a court could do this is by garnishing the defendant’s wages, which would be an option if the defendant has an employer who pays them regularly. It is also possible to garnish money in another person’s bank account.
To start the process of garnishing money from a defendant who won’t pay up, you’ll need to go through discovery. This is when you figure out what assets and income the defendant has. After that, you can figure out the best way to get the money you’re owed.
This isn’t to say that it’s easy when a defendant tries to avoid paying you. It can take time, but if you’re dealing with major medical expenses, it may be smart to go after the motorist who caused the accident.
Getting Compensated for Your Injury Claim
It can be hard to know what to do when you weren’t driving your own car and the accident was caused by an uninsured motorist. They don’t have insurance you can go after, and your own insurance may not factor in to the situation.
To figure out the right move, think about consulting with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer who can guide you through the process. Your lawyer can advise you on what your options are and represent you as you pursue an uninsured motorist claim.