What Happens if Someone Else is Driving my Car and Gets in an Accident?
Sometimes, when one person loans his or her motor vehicle to someone else, a collision occurs. What happens from that point forward typically depends on whether or not the driver was at-fault for the motor vehicle accident or was a victim in the accident who suffered one or more serious injuries. In either instance, serious physical injuries and damages can result from a California motor vehicle collision, such as soft tissue injuries, broken bones, traumatic brain and head injuries, and back injuries.
If you loaned your vehicle to someone else who was later involved in a motor vehicle collision, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area could assess the situation and determine possible outcomes. Your lawyer will also be able to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and help you decide on the best course of action moving forward.
If Someone You Lent Your Vehicle to Caused the Accident in Question
If the person to whom you lent your vehicle was involved in a motor vehicle accident, and he or she caused the accident, then you could be on the receiving end of a claim. This is because you were the owner of the vehicle and likely carried insurance coverage on the vehicle. If the driver operating the vehicle had a different insurance carrier, then that insurance company might become involved as well.
If a lawsuit is ultimately filed in the case, you could potentially be a defendant in that lawsuit if there was an agency relationship. In other words, you must have given the driver permission to operate your vehicle at the time when the motor vehicle accident occurred.
If the Person Driving Your Vehicle was an Accident Victim
If someone you lent your vehicle to was the victim in a motor vehicle accident, then he or she could bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. However, if the at-fault driver was uninsured, or if he or she was underinsured when the accident occurred, then the driver could potentially look to your insurance company to make up the difference. This would typically be done by way of an underinsured motorist claim (where the other driver lacked sufficient motor vehicle insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries) or a totally uninsured motorist claim (where the other driver was wholly uninsured at the time of the accident), depending on the exact circumstances.
No matter the circumstances, if you lent your car to someone and he or she was involved in an accident, you should put your insurance company on notice of a potential claim in the case. A knowledgeable Orange County attorney in your area will be able to answer all of your legal questions about how to file a car accident claim, as well as what to do if a claim is filed against you arising from the accident. It is a good idea to speak with a lawyer whether or not you believe you might be implicated in the accident.