Have you ever loaned your car to a relative or a friend? Most of us would say yes. But have you ever thought about what would happen if the person you loaned your car to got into an accident and injured themselves or someone else? Would you be held legally responsible? The answer is, maybe.
There are many perfectly logical reasons someone else could be driving your car. You may loan it to your teenager who gets into an accident. Your employee may be driving a company vehicle and hit another car. In both instances, you or your company could be liable.
This is especially true if the driver was negligent, which is known as “vicarious liability.” Your teenager may have been texting or otherwise distracted at the time of the accident, making him or her negligent. If you are the victim of a car accident where the other driver was not the owner of the vehicle, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the owner.
Generally, an owner is liable if he allows a driver that is (1) unlicensed, (2) reckless, or (3) incompetent to operate the vehicle. Since car insurance attaches to the vehicle rather than the driver, if you loan your car to someone who lives with you, they should be covered by your policy.
However, if your car is taken without your permission and the driver gets into an accident, it will be the driver’s insurance that would likely be primary and your insurance would be secondary. If an uninsured person takes your vehicle without your permission, your insurance would still be primary.
Of course, if your car is stolen, you would not be liable for any injuries or damages done by the vehicle. Damage to your vehicle would be covered by your insurance in the case of a stolen car.
If you want to know if you have a case, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney today.