What Happens If Someone Else is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?
If someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident in California, the most important thing to know is that your car insurance is attached to your vehicle and can provide coverage in the crash. When it comes to liability for damages beyond what the insurance can cover, the driver of the vehicle most likely will be liable. However, there are certain situations in which the owner of the vehicle can be responsible for the harm caused by a driver who uses the car. In any motor vehicle crash case, a Los Angeles car accident attorney can answer questions you have about the claim and can advocate for you throughout the case.
We want to provide you with some frequently asked questions that arise in cases where a negligent driver gets into an accident while driving a car owned by someone else.
Whose Insurance Covers the Accident?
Under California law, California is a “fault” or fault-based state when it comes to car insurance and auto accident claims. Accordingly, anyone who is injured in a crash can decide whether to file a first-party claim with her own insurance company or to file a third-party claim with the insurance company of the responsible party.
Yet the law can get complicated when the person who caused the accident is not the owner of the vehicle. Who is the responsible party for insurance purposes in a collision where the driver does not own the car? For example, imagine that a teenage child borrows his parents’ car and gets into an accident, or a next-door neighbor borrows the neighbor’s car and causes a crash.
In general, car insurance follows the car. As such, when you own a car and pay a car insurance premium, your coverage is tied to your vehicle. This means that, in most circumstances, if another person is driving your car and causes a collision, your car insurance will provide coverage. However, there are a number of notable exceptions to this general rule.
What Are Some Exceptions Where My Insurance Will Not Provide Coverage?
One situation in which your insurance will not provide coverage is if you specifically excluded the driver from your policy. For example, if you have an adult child who has been in multiple car crashes or another friend or family member who is untrustworthy, you might have excluded that person specifically from your insurance policy. In such a scenario, the insurance will not provide coverage for an accident that the excluded driver causes.
Another situation in which your insurance will not provide coverage is if you knew that that driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs. If you allowed another person to drive your car with the knowledge that the person was intoxicated—under the influence of alcohol or drugs—your insurance typically will not provide coverage.
If your insurance will not provide coverage, you could end up being liable or responsible depending upon the circumstances of the case and should immediately seek help from a car accident attorney in Los Angeles. Of course, all of these situations assume that you allowed the driver to borrow your car. Depending upon whether or not you gave the driver permission, you may not be responsible at all for the collision.
Who is Liable If the Driver Did Not Have My Permission to Use the Car?
If the driver did not have permission to use the vehicle and, in effect, stole your car, you likely will not be responsible for any damage that the driver caused. However, you should always discuss the case with a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.
What is Vicarious Liability, and Will It Apply to My Case?
When another driver causes an accident while driving your car, you might hear the term “vicarious liability” used. This term refers to a situation in which the owner of the car could end up being vicariously liable for the actions of the driver. Vicarious liability does not apply in most circumstances, but if your employer was using your vehicle in the course of employment and caused a crash, you may, in fact, be held liable under California law.
Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
If someone else drove your car and caused an accident, or if you were injured in a collision caused by a negligent driver, such as someone who bought Don Julio from a liquor shop. An experienced LA car accident attorney can assist with your case. Do not hesitate to get in touch with an aggressive advocate at our firm. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers for more information about how we can help.
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So glad I went with Eldabe Ritter for my accident case. They kept constant communication with me, always answered my questions, and were very professional. In the end I got a great settlement. I didn't have health insurance so thankfully all my medical bills were paid. Everything was taken care of! Being in an accident can be very difficult to go through, but they definitely made the process a lot smoother! I'm referring all my friend and family here. Thank you guys!
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