It’s a nightmare scenario everyone hopes won’t ever happen to them: you give a friend or family member permission to take your vehicle to run an errand, and they get into a serious wreck. This situation often leads to legal headaches if it isn’t immediately clear whose insurance policy should handle certain costs. To protect your legal rights, an experienced Missouri car accident attorney can guide you through the process and determine who is liable and for what.
Borrowed Car Accidents and How Insurance Works
If you let a friend or family member borrow your car, and the driver is involved in a car accident, it’s important to understand how medical bills will be paid, who’s responsible for damage to one or both vehicles, and what happens if either party is seriously injured and can’t work. In Missouri, liability insurance usually follows the vehicle rather than the driver. That means, the insurance company for the owner of the borrowed car will pay for damages to the other car, driver, and passengers. Ultimately, if your friend or family member causes the accident, your insurance will pay. However, if that person causes damage that is beyond your coverage limits, their insurance can offer secondary coverage. But this only happens when your coverage is depleted.
It’s possible that your specific policy may not end up involved at all if the other driver caused the collision, and the person borrowing your vehicle was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Assuming the other vehicle is insured, that driver’s policy is typically used first for any coverage.
What Happens if My Car Was Stolen or Used Without Permission?
If your car is stolen and in an accident, and you’ve reported that car stolen or missing, you will not be held liable for the crash, even if the criminal is at fault. However, the issue becomes trickier if the person who took your car without permission is a family member or friend. If the situation becomes a case of your word against theirs—they say you did give permission, and you say you didn’t—it’s especially critical to obtain a Missouri car crash attorney to help determine liability.
Issues That May Factor in
- If you’ve given that person permission to drive your car in the past, or there is a history of that person borrowing your car
- How often you’ve allowed that person to drive your car
- What your relationship is with the driver
What Else Do I Need to Know When Someone Else Crashes My Car?
Besides untangling whose insurance should pay specific bills, you may also run into problems if your insurance plan doesn’t specifically name the person who borrowed the vehicle as a potential driver. In some cases, that may jeopardize medical coverage from your plan. If the person who borrowed your car was seriously injured, they may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver or seek coverage from their own insurance.
Retaining a lawyer is extremely helpful when dealing with insurance companies. You are more likely to be treated fairly and see the favorable outcome you deserve with a legal professional backing you up and handling communication.
There can be complicated legal issues when the person you’ve let drive your car gets into an accident, especially if there is serious property damage or the victims suffer severe injuries. It’s important to contact an experienced Missouri car accident injury attorney as quickly as possible following the accident. The sooner your attorney begins investigating the wreck, the sooner you can put it in your rear-view mirror. Call us, or reach out to us online.