If you have an accident in your car, it is cause for concern. Who was at fault? Did anyone suffer injuries? Who is going to pay for damages? And the list goes on.
But what if someone else was driving and crashed your car? Who bears the responsibility, and who will pay to get your car fixed? What should you do? Call an experienced car accident lawyer for help.
If Someone Else Has an Accident While Behind the Wheel of Your Car
There are a few different scenarios, but let’s assume you permitted a relative or friend to drive your car. They have an accident. What should you do?
First, try to stay calm and make sure everyone involved is OK. You will need to notify your insurance company, and whoever was driving should contact their own insurance company. And you should speak with a personal injury lawyer.
Most accidents are complex. Of course, no one wants to claim responsibility, but one driver and sometimes more than one driver are at fault.
At-Fault States vs. No-Fault States
Throughout the U.S. every car owner is required to carry liability insurance for their vehicles.
Many states, including Nevada, follow at-fault law meaning the driver who causes an accident is responsible for the damages and injuries to the vehicles and individuals involved. The car owner’s insurance kicks in to pay the damages, less a deductible, up to the policy limits.
There are a minority of states, however, that follow no-fault legislation requiring drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP). In those states, the driver’s PIP pays for any medical expenses they or their passengers incur from a vehicle accident no matter who is responsible.
Whose Insurance Covers Your Car When Someone Else Is Driving?
Nevada’s law requires liability coverage with a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury or death. Insurance coverage must also include a minimum of $20,000 for the destruction of property of others, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
If you are at fault for an accident in your own car in Nevada, your insurance will pay for medical care for injuries and damages to the vehicles involved. But is your insurance responsible if someone else was driving? Maybe.
If you lend your car to a friend or family member, you have permitted them to drive it. Usually, the insurance policy follows the car, not the driver. If damages are more than your coverage, the driver’s insurance policy should pick up the balance. There are instances when your insurance company can refuse to provide coverage for an accident, including:
Permission Not Being Given to the Driver
If a friend or family member took your car out for a spin without permission and had an accident, you nor your insurance company are liable. But you must prove you did not give permission. In this case, the driver and their insurance are responsible.
Most insurance policies have a provision in which you can specifically exclude someone from coverage under your policy. If the individual who “borrowed” your car is denoted, your insurance will not cover them if they have an accident in your car.
Invalid Driver’s License
If the driver does not have a driver’s license, or it has expired, your insurance will deny coverage for an accident when they were behind the wheel.
If someone was driving under the influence and had an accident with your car, your insurance policy likely has a clause to refuse coverage.
Your Car Was Stolen
If someone stole your car and had an accident, neither you nor your insurance company is responsible for the accident or damages to the other vehicle. However, the burden of paying for repairs to your own car may fall on your shoulders. Your comprehensive coverage may kick in and pay for damages.
How the Accident Affects You
If your insurance company does pay damages from an accident, even if you were not involved, you can bet your premium will go up. But what if the friend or family member who was driving your car cannot, or will not, pay the insurance deductible? Furthermore, you could be sued if damages for the other vehicle, its driver, and passengers exceed the limits of the policies of you and the driver of your car.
Additionally, you have a duty to take proper precautions when lending out your car. That duty includes:
- That your car is in good working order and properly licensed
- The driver has a valid driver’s license
- The driver has proper knowledge and experience in driving a vehicle like yours
- The driver will not drive under the influence
- The driver is free from physical impairments such as vision problems
Failing any of these could result in problems for you, including negligent entrustment. If your car was in an accident, you need a car accident attorney.
When Should You Call an Attorney?
Right away. When you learn your car was in an accident call a car accident lawyer. You want advice, and you may need legal representation.
Do not share a lawyer with the person who drove your car. You need your own independent attorney. A car accident attorney should offer you a free initial legal consultation, during which you will need to provide:
- The facts of the accident
- Contact information for your insurance company
- The name and information for the individual driving your car
- Contact information for the other driver
- The extent of injuries and damages for all involved
- Copies of estimates for repairs to your car
With that, your attorney can do a little digging. The legal team can get a copy of the police report from the accident and background information for the driver of your car and the other driver.
What a Car Accident Lawyer Will Cost You
There is no out-of-pocket cost for a personal injury lawyer. If you need to hire a car accident attorney following your car being in an accident when someone else was driving, you need peace of mind by protecting what is yours.
Contact legal representation for help recovering damages to your vehicle. Pacific West Injury Law has no up-front fees. We only get paid through your compensation after we prove your case.
Call Pacific West Injury Law Today
Our legal team has years of experience handling many differing car accident cases. If you need help in the greater Las Vegas area or Henderson, contact Pacific West Injury Law today. Let us help you.