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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? This is a very common question, and most people have misconceptions about insurance policies, liabilities, and litigation in a car accident involving a vehicle driven by someone other than the vehicle owner. 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 a comparative 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 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 responsible for any damages. However, your insurance policy may only cover the damages up to certain limits. If the amount exceeds your coverage limits then the auto insurance of the person driving your car would provide the remaining money.

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 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

If the other driver was not given permission to drive your car or is excluded from your insurance policy, 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 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, acquaintance, or thief 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.

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

If someone drives your car and gets in an accident, the claim can be complex and your insurance company could be held liable even if you were not directly involved. Whether or not your insurance covers the cost of damages and injuries will depend on whether the driver is permissive or non-permissive, which can be nuanced and difficult to determine.

For this reason, it’s best to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident occurs. An experienced attorney like the team at Breaux Law Firm can help evaluate your case and determine your liability. They can also help you file your claim for full compensation after a car accident that you did not cause—especially if your property is damaged or you were injured.

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 too long to talk to an attorney! If the suit is filed after the deadline, it can be dismissed.

FAQ

People always have a lot of questions when it comes to letting other people drive your car or what to do if someone is involved in an accident while borrowing your car. Below are answers to some of the common questions we get asked at Breaux Law Firm about this topic:

Q: Can someone drive my car and be covered by my insurance?

Ans: Yes, someone is covered by your auto insurance while driving your car, whether they are listed on your policy or merely simply a permissive user. It’s very easy to put someone on your policy with just a phone call to your insurance provider. Your car insurance can typically be arranged to cover other drivers such as a spouse or significant other, parents, siblings, children, a friend, a roommate, or another household member.

Q: What if my friend let someone else drive my car?

Ans: This can be tricky to answer and should be evaluated on an individual basis by an experienced personal injury attorney. As we’ve already covered, permissive use is when you allow someone who is not explicitly covered under your insurance policy to use your car. Since either you or this driver have proof that they were given permission to drive your car, your car insurance will cover the cost of any accident or damage that happened while they are driving your vehicle.

On the other hand, non-permissive use is when someone who is not covered under your insurance policy drives your car without permission. If your friend let someone else drive your car without your permission, you could try to argue that this is non-permissive use, in which case your insurance company would not be held liable. However, it can be difficult to prove that the person driving your car did not have permission. For example, it might be unlikely that you have expressly written out or communicated to your friend that no one besides your friend is allowed to drive your car.

Again, in this type of complicated situation, it’s best to seek out legal counsel.

Q: What happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident, which isn’t their fault?

Ans: If you let someone drive your car and they are involved in a car accident for which they are not at all to blame, then the other driver’s insurance policy will be responsible for covering all costs. Louisiana is an at-fault state, which means the person who causes the accident is held liable. In this situation.

For example, if you lend your car to a friend in order to run an errand, and they are hit by a driver who runs a red light, that at-fault driver will be held legally liable. Their insurance policy will be responsible for covering the cost of any damages, from your friend’s medical care to your car repairs.

Q: What happens if a friend or family member wrecked my car and didn’t have insurance in Louisiana?

Ans: If your car is damaged while another person is driving it and that person has no auto insurance of their own, you will need to get the damages addressed through your own insurance carrier. Your liability insurance will cover damages caused to another car, person, or property, up to the limit determined by your policy. Your collision coverage, if you have purchased it, will cover up to the value of your own vehicle.

In Louisiana, where every auto insurance policy is legally required to have at least 15/30/25 liability limits, a basic policy will cover $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and $25,000 in damage to someone else’s vehicle or property. These limits will change based on the policy you have purchased. If your auto insurance policy also includes collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for the damages to your own vehicle if a friend or family member crashes your car.

As the vehicle owner, your insurance is the primary source of coverage if you gave permission to someone to use your car and they wreck it. To protect yourself and ensure the best possible outcome, it’s best to contact a personal injury attorney in this situation.

Q: What happens if a friend driving my car left the scene of an accident?

Ans: If a friend driving your car left the scene of an accident, your friend has committed a serious criminal offense and faces severe consequences. According to RS 14:100, a hit-and-run accident where there is no death or serious bodily injury can result in a $500 fine, a 6-month prison sentence, or both. If your license plate was noted, the police will trace the accident to you. Both you and your friend should seek legal counsel at once.

For example, at Breaux Law Firm, we often have clients who were hit by a car that drove away. They might have snapped a photo of the license plate. We then run the license plate through the DMV, to discover the car’s insurance and ownership history and to find the responsible driver.

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 personal injury 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.