A vehicular accident can create a stressful scenario that includes having to deal with the police, insurance companies, and possible lawsuits. It is important for people involved in accidents to understand the process and handle the situation correctly to limit potential problems. These steps include checking for any potential injuries, moving to a safe place, calling for assistance, exchanging information, taking pictures and video of the accident, and calling the insurance company. Apart from the nerve-racking experience, the damages can potentially be more expensive than originally calculated. However, what happens when someone that you loaned your car to has an accident?
Confusion in coverage
Even though it may be initially confusing because someone else had the accident, insurance does not follow the driver, but the car. This means that even though you did not have the accident, you are still responsible for the crash. Therefore, before lending out your car, remember that you are also loaning out your insurance policy, deductible, and responsibility. The liability portion will cover damages and injuries caused to third parties. Losses to personal property will also require filing a claim against the collision portion of the policy, which will involve a deductible. These actions have the unintended consequence of raising your insurance premium and cause other problems. Only when the damages exceed the coverage will the driver’s own insurance act as secondary coverage. All of this is assuming that the person that you loaned the car to was responsible for causing the accident. Otherwise, the insurer of the person that receives the traffic citation covers the damages.
In states like California, insurance will operate under the assumption of permissive use. This means that insurance companies will require others that live in the same household to be included in the insurance policy. For parents with teenagers or other high-risk individuals, this may cause an increase in premium. As a possible solution, policyholders can specifically exclude certain drivers. However, if an excluded driver crashes the car, the insurance company will not pay for any damages. If you permitted the person to take the car, you would personally be held liable for the accident.
Proving that the person took the car without permission when living in the same household is difficult. However, certain scenarios make it clear that permission was not granted. For example, if someone stole the car and was involved in an accident, the insurance company will pay for the damages. Also, if someone you know takes the car and does not have insurance, your insurance company will also cover the wreck. However, if you knowingly let an uninsured or intoxicated driver take the vehicle, not only will you be responsible, but you may also face lawsuits. In these cases or other situations where liability becomes a problem, it is best to hire a car accident attorney Oxnard.
Legally, a friend that crashes your car does not have any responsibility. It may be morally wrong, but nevertheless, there is nothing that you can do to force repayment for the deductible or any premium increases caused by the accident. Although you can attempt to sue the person to win the lawsuit, proof of negligence must be established. The best course of action is to compromise on the damages and see how best to resolve the situation amicably. Try to see if your friend is willing to pay for the deductible and any of the incidentals in installments. Ultimately, it is best to remember the consequences of lending your car. Although it may seem like a simple favor, this action can have unintended and costly consequences.