You have lent your car to a friend, and your friend has caused a car accident while driving your car. Who is responsible and who will be paying for damages?
If your friend who is driving a car lent by you gets into a car accident, whether or not you would be required to foot the bill will depend on various factors, like your state laws, the conditions in your insurance policy, and the circumstances of the accident. Generally, the insurance company may cover a car accident caused by someone who has been driving your car. The insurance company may provide coverage in such cases only if your vehicle was taken by the person with your permission and also whether you were reasonable to grant that permission.
If the insurance company considers that you have been negligent in lending your car to your friend, they may decline to own liability to pay the bills. This clause is called the owner’s negligence. This is applicable in instances when you have loaned your car to your friend who does not have a valid driver’s license, or you loaned your car while your friend has been under the influence of alcohol. In such cases, your insurance company may refuse to pay for damages.
Reading the Fine Print
There may be situations when you have reasonably loaned your car to a friend and your friend gets into an accident; the insurance company may still deny paying for damages. You will have to read the fine print of the terms of your policy to determine the type of coverage applicable on your vehicle and whether the coverage is applicable for third party drivers as well. If your vehicle is to be driven by a third person on a regular basis, it is advisable to have that person included in your insurance policy.
The “No-Fault Rule”
There is something called a “no-fault rule” which is applicable in twelve states. In these states, licensed drivers are required to make car injury claims for injuries sustained through their own personal injury coverage of their insurance policies. This coverage covers all injuries except for those deemed serious. Hence, you do not own any liability for damage coverage in these states except for the cases where the injuries sustained are severe, the treatment is expensive, or the injuries are permanent.
Whether you have been reasonable in lending your car to your friend is a difficult question and it does not have one answer when it comes to payment of damages for the accident caused by your friend who has been driving your car. It is, however, imperative that you report each and every accident involving your vehicle, whether you have been driving or someone else, to your insurance company. In case you are uncertain about your responsibility for a friend driving your car involved in an accident, you should contact a St. Louis car accident attorney for specific advice regarding the issue.
Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 to learn about your legal options and to resolve the case in a manner that is beneficial to all involved.