May 20, 2021
What Happens If Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?
by Evan Breaux | Auto Accidents | 0 comments
What happens if someone gets in an accident while driving my car

What happens if someone gets in an accident while driving my car? It is a very common question and most people have misconceptions about insurance policies, liabilities, and litigation involving a car accident that’s owned by someone other than who is driving. Let’s dive in to know what to do after such a car accident

Another person might drive your vehicle for any number of reasons—and that’s okay! 

It might be a family member or friend who borrows your car, your teenage son or daughter who is learning to drive, someone using your car while you’re away on a trip, or someone driving you in your own car if you’re unable to drive yourself. 

While you should not get in the habit of regularly lending out your car to others, these things do happen, and sometimes accidents happen, as well.

Who Is Responsible If Someone Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?

Louisiana is an at-fault state, so the person who caused the accident uses their insurance to pay for the other driver’s bills after a collision. Police and insurance companies will use evidence from the accident’s aftermath to decide who is at fault for the accident. 

For that reason, it is very important that you call the police after an accident and file a police report with all details of the accident asap if someone else borrows your car and gets into an accident. 

If you were not at fault in an accident where you were injured or your car was damaged, no matter who was driving your car during the accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

But let’s say the person driving your car causes an accident. The important thing to remember when someone else is driving your car is that your insurance generally follows the car, not the driver. So, if someone borrows your car and gets into an accident, your insurance is applicable to recover the damages. However, your insurance policy may only cover the damages up to certain limits. If the amount exceeds your coverage limits then the insurance of the person driving your car would provide the remaining money. 

What this means is that whether or not you were also in the car, your insurance will likely cover damage to your car that the other driver caused.  If the person who borrows your car causes an accident that damages another vehicle or injures another person, your insurance will likely still cover them, but only to the extent that your insurance policy allows. The person driving your car will be held responsible for any damage that exceeds your coverage limits.

For example, if a friend drives your car and is at fault for causing an accident, your insurance is responsible for any damage to your car, other cars involved, and any injured people—up to a certain dollar amount that is determined by your auto insurance policy. For any costs of the accident that exceed your policy limit, your friend’s insurance policy may cover the rest of the costs, or your friend may be on the hook for those costs.

However, it’s important to note that your auto insurance will only cover the costs of the damages based on a few important factors according to the Louisiana car insurance laws

  1. That you gave the other driver permission to drive your car
  2. That the other driver was not excluded from your insurance policy
  3. That the other driver was not impaired by drugs or alcohol

If the other driver was not given permission to drive your car, is excluded from your insurance policy, or was impaired, your auto policy may not cover the costs of the damage. 

In these cases, working with an experienced car accident attorney will help ensure that you are compensated for any damages to your vehicle and that your rights are protected. 

Permissive Driver Versus Non-Permissive Driver

A permissive driver is someone who was given permission to drive the vehicle by the vehicle owner. Therefore, your auto insurance’s liability coverage and collision coverage will pay for damages your vehicle caused to another car or person. 

If the permissive driver caused damage to another person or property that exceeds the limits of your auto insurance policy, the permissive driver must cover those costs. Their own auto insurance policy may help with the costs, and if they don’t have their own auto insurance, they may be held financially responsible. If the permissive driver was your teenage child who is not licensed or not on your auto insurance plan, you as the parent may be responsible for the damages they cause.

A non-permissive driver means a family member, friend, or acquaintance used your car without your permission. If this is the case, the non-permissive driver who got in a car accident in your vehicle is liable for the damage they caused to your car, the other cars involved, and any people hurt in the accident. If the non-permissive driver drove your car without your permission and caused damages to your car, other cars, or people, but does not have their own car insurance policy, it’s likely that you will have to file a claim with your own auto insurance provider to cover the cost of that damage.

However, it can often be very difficult to prove that the non-permissive driver did not have your permission. If you can’t prove you didn’t give permission and an accident happened, you might get stuck paying for damages. In this type of situation, the best thing for you to do is to seek legal counsel from a car accident lawyer like those at Breaux Law Firm.

Excluded Drivers

Some people may have certain high-risk or inexperienced friends, roommates, household members, or family members listed as excluded drivers on their auto insurance policy. If an excluded driver causes an accident in your car, your insurance won’t cover the damage, even if you gave the driver permission to drive that time. You may be held financially responsible for the damages the person driving your vehicle caused.

Impaired or Unlicensed Drivers

It is highly unlikely that your auto insurance will cover damages if you lend your car to someone who caused an accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you lent your car to someone who doesn’t have a driver’s license. That means an Uninsured driver driving an insured car. 

In these cases, you may be held financially responsible for the damages the person driving your vehicle caused. Again, this can be a difficult and unfortunate situation, especially when it involves a friend or family member. Seek the help of an attorney to understand your options.

What Should I Do If Someone Drives My Car and Gets in an Accident?

If someone drives your car and gets in an accident; in this scenario the lawsuit settlement can be complex and you will be liable even if it didn’t involve you.

Insurance consideration will depend on the circumstances whether the driver is permissive or non-permissive. It’s highly important to take initiatives rapidly. 

In Louisiana, according to the Civil Code Article 3492, the statute of limitations applicable to motor vehicle claims is one year from the date of the accident, so don’t wait! If the suit is filed after the deadline, it can be dismissed. 

Talk to an Attorney for Free

Contact an attorney for legal advice right away if someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident. In Louisiana, accident victims have one year following a car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit to be compensated for property damage or personal injury. 

An experienced car accident attorney will help you understand your auto insurance policy and what it covers, who is likely to be held responsible for damages caused by your vehicle, as well as the ins and outs of filing a claim. 

The car accident attorneys at Breaux Law Firm in New Orleans will schedule a free call or meeting to assess your case. At the meeting, you’ll want to share with your attorney all the details of the accident and any documentation you have, like the police report, photos, videos, eyewitness or passenger accounts, and information about the other vehicles and drivers involved, including any injuries, doctors reports, or hospital visits. 

If you or someone you know was in a car accident while driving your car and you aren’t sure what to do next, reach out to Breaux Law Firm immediately. At Breaux Law Firm, we provide personalized attention and care to each of our clients, and we fight for you as if we were fighting for one of our own family members. Contact the attorneys at Breaux Law Firm for help today.