Am I Liable If Someone Else Causes an Accident with My Car?
You may lend a car to your friend or loved one only to be called and told that they were involved in an accident. While this would be emotionally devastating, especially if the loved one sustained injuries, insurance claims may follow up soon after and it is important to know if you can get entangled in the mess.
So how does insurance work if your car causes an accident but you were not the one behind the wheel at the time?
This creates a unique scenario that tweaks the claim-filing process as we know it, albeit there are protocols that your car accident lawyer in Kent WA can follow to resolve the matter.
Who is insured – the driver or the car?
The main thing to understand when it comes to this kind of accidents is that car insurance covers the vehicle and not necessarily the driver. This means that if someone else crashes your car, you still have a claim to seek compensation from your insurance company. Likewise, if the party at fault for the accident is the driver of another car, their insurance will have to pay for the damages.
When the driver is also insured
If the person that crashed your car is insured as well, your coverage will apply and theirs will act secondary to yours. This means that your insurance company will cover the damages, medical costs, and other expenses and the other individual’s insurer will only chip in if your insurance is not enough to cover all damages. In words of one syllable, the payout will be fatter if the other person has insurance as well.
What if the driver of my car is a family member?
In Washington, everyone in your household is included in your car insurance. For those family members that do not live with you but pop in occasionally and use your car, loaning them the car is the only way to ensure your coverage applies while they are driving it. This is called permissive use.
If someone drives your car without your permission
When someone you didn’t know had taken your car crashes it, you may be compelled to pay for the damages yourself as it can be hard to prove to your insurance that you had actually permitted the individual to use your car. This can get even more complicated if the driver abandons your car and flees the scene of the accident.
Exceptions to these rules
There are a few scenarios that may cause the insurance company to refuse to pay for damages to your car after someone else crashes it. One such exception has been explained above; you may not get compensation if the person that crashed your car didn’t have the permission to drive it.
Another scenario is when the individual was specifically excluded from your insurance coverage. A bad driving record is one of the most common reasons people exclude others from their insurance coverage. If you include a driver with a poor record in your car insurance, the coverage’s cost is likely to shoot.