If Someone Gets Into an Accident Driving Your Car, Are You Liable?

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If Someone Gets Into an Accident Driving Your Car, Are You Liable?

friend gets in an accident while driving your car

Your insurance company would likely cover whoever is driving your vehicle at the time of the accident. How this works depends on who was driving. Your insurer might even require everyone of driving age in your household be listed on your auto insurance policy for this exact reason.

If you let a friend drive your vehicle and they get in an accident, they might be covered under permissive use provisions. Those provisions essentially extend your coverage to anyone you let drive your vehicle.

What If the Person Who Borrowed My Car Has Their Own Coverage?

Chances are your insurance would still be billed first. You’d likely need to:

  • File the accident claim with your insurer
  • Pay any necessary deductibles
  • Suffer any premium increases as a result of the accident

However, your friend’s insurance might pick up any damages in excess of your policy limits.

Keep in mind that in a no-fault state like Florida your insurance will need to pay medical bills regardless of who was at fault. If the other driver was responsible for the accident, and not your friend or family member, you may be able to seek damages against them for any costs in excess of your policy limits.

What If My Car Was Stolen?

If someone steals your car and then gets into an accident, your insurance company should cover the damage to your vehicle. However, they likely won’t pay for injuries the thief suffers, and you won’t be personally liable for any damages the thief causes to other people or property.

Things can get more complicated if a family member takes your car without permission and then gets into an accident. If a friend or someone with their own insurance coverage takes your car without permission and gets into an accident their insurance would likely be billed for damages first, and then your own coverage would pay for damages over the driver’s policy limits.

If your unlicensed child takes your car and gets into an accident, your own policy will have to cover damages.

Could I Be Sued If Someone Gets Into an Accident with My Car?

If you knowingly let someone illegally use your vehicle you could potentially be liable. Giving your keys to a drunk friend or letting an unlicensed driver take your vehicle for a drive could open you up to liability if they get into an accident with your car.

Should You Let Your Friend Borrow Your Car?

It’s important to understand your own coverage before you let someone else get behind the wheel of your vehicle. If your policy has a permissive use provision, your friend is licensed to drive, is sober and has their own coverage, there’s little risk in letting them take your vehicle.

Do I Need an Auto Accident Lawyer If a Friend Gets Into a Crash with My Car?

Whether you need a car crash lawyer depends on the type of accident, whether the person driving your car has their own personal injury protection insurance and who was responsible. If your friend didn’t have permission to drive your car but they did so anyways, you may want to speak with a lawyer.

These cases can get complicated because the other driver could potentially go after you if their property damage and injuries were serious and exceeded their own PIP policy limits. If you didn’t give the driver of your vehicle permission to use it, then it’s not right for you to be held financially liable.

The insurance company might not see it that way. They may just assume that since it was your car and someone you knew was driving it, your policy and assets are fair game.

The Limits of PIP and Property Damage Coverage

Florida’s PIP rules only pertain to actual injuries. Every driver is also required to carry property damage liability coverage. That means if someone else gets into an accident with your car, and they were at fault, your policy will need to pay out on the other driver’s property damage claim.

PIP also doesn’t cover pain and suffering damages – only actual injuries. Pain and suffering after auto accidents can be real and devastating, and people deserve compensation for the long-term negative effects of auto accident injuries.

PIP will cover some lost wages, but only 70 percent for up to 14 days. In many cases people are out of work for much longer than two weeks. Those lost wages also come out of your PIP policy limit, which might only be $10,000. That $10,000 can run out quickly after a car accident.

Relying solely on PIP is often inadequate after major car accidents. That is why many people who have suffered serious injuries after car crashes benefit from speaking with a Florida personal injury lawyer.