As a car accident lawyer respects might attest, no motor vehicle collisions are routine – every one is unique. So you’re on your way to pick up the kids and you’re in a car accident. You are immediately experiencing pain, and through the haze, you are told that the person who hit you was in a borrowed car he borrowed from a friend. Once the dust settles and you get the medical treatment that you need, the question will ultimately arise: who is going to pay for all this damage?
In most states, unless the insurance policy of the owner’s car says differently, the actual owner of the car – or his insurance company – will be responsible. In other words, insurance follows the car and not the person. Here are a few scenarios:
Scenario No. 1:
The person who crashed into you was in a borrowed car, and he was a friend: In this instance, the owner’s car insurance will probably be responsible for covering the damages to your car and for your injuries. In the event the damage is more than the insurance coverage, then the driver who hit you (or his insurance company) will be responsible for the amount over and above the insurance limits.
Scenario No. 2:
The person who crashed into you was in a borrowed car, he lived in the household of the owner, and he was an excluded driver. This gets much more complex. In this instance, outside of personal actions against the owner for negligent entrustment, you will likely be forced to make a claim against your own insurance company for an uninsured motorist claim.
Scenario No. 3:
The person who crashed into me was in a borrowed car, and the owner of the car had no insurance. In this instance, the driver’s insurance company will be the primary insurance coverage responsible for damages. In the event the damages amount to a figure over and above the limits, then you will be forced to file an underinsured motorist claim on your own insurance policy.
As you can see, allowing someone to borrow your car can have very serious consequences. Not only are you allowing them to borrow the keys and one of your most prized possessions, you are also letting them borrow your insurance coverage.
For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in investigating car crashes for years.
Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into borrowed cars in motor vehicle accidents.