Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, you face the potential risk of a collision. However, it’s also important to understand the risks and possible consequences when someone else causes an accident while driving your car – or if you were driving someone else’s car when a collision occurred. In Texas, the vehicle owner’s insurance policy will typically cover an accident – even when the owner was not driving.
However, not every policy is the same, and some policies might not provide this type of coverage. If you weren’t driving your car during a car accident, our firm can review the case for free and help you understand who is liable for the damages. There may also be legal options available to anyone concerned about unknowingly driving uninsured vehicles.
Insurance Issues When You Were Not Driving Your Vehicle
In Texas, insurance protects the car as opposed to the driver. That means that if you adequately insure your vehicle, you are protected if someone else wrecks your car while driving it. This is true both for liability insurance as well as full coverage claims.
The party that was responsible for the accident will also determine which policy pays. For example, if you are driving another person’s vehicle and cause an accident, the owner’s liability policy should cover the losses of anyone you injured.
Some drivers also have insurance that covers them in any vehicle they operate. In that case, if someone causes an accident in your vehicle and your insurance policy limits will not cover all the damages, the driver’s insurance policy could be on the hook for the remaining expenses.
For a free legal consultation, call 877-239-4878
How an Owner Could Be at Fault
Not all car accidents resolve through insurance claims. When litigation is necessary, an injured party can identify the liable party and pursue a civil lawsuit against them.
Typically, a personal injury lawsuit resulting from a motor vehicle collision will only target the driver responsible for the collision. However, there are a few situations where the owner of the car could also face liability. Understanding these exceptions is important for anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident.
The vehicle owner could be responsible for an accident someone else caused in their car due to the theory of negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment occurs when the owner entrusts their vehicle to a person they know to be dangerous or unqualified to drive. There are five elements of negligent entrustment in Texas:
- The owner must have entrusted the vehicle to the driver. If the driver took the vehicle without permission, negligent entrustment is not viable.
- The driver must have been reckless, unlicensed, or incompetent.
- The owner must have known or should have known that the driver was dangerous.
- The driver was negligent at the time of the accident.
- Their negligence was directly responsible for the collision.
Family Purpose Doctrine
Texas law also acknowledges the “family purpose doctrine.” Under this doctrine, it is possible to pursue legal action against the parents of a teenage driver when they cause a collision. The purpose of this exception is to protect innocent motorists who are injured by teenagers who lack the assets to cover a large personal injury claim.
However, this doctrine only applies under certain circumstances:
- The vehicle involved in the accident must be maintained by the parents and used for family purposes.
- The teen driver responsible for the accident must have had permission to use the vehicle.
- The teen must have been using the vehicle for a family purpose at the time of the accident.
If all of these elements are met, it is possible to pursue a lawsuit against a teen driver and their parents who own the car.
Understanding Non-Owner Insurance
Typically, the liability insurance that covers a vehicle will extend to other drivers beyond the owner. However, a problem arises when a driver causes a crash in someone else’s car, and it turns out that car was not insured.
To protect against this lack of coverage, insurance companies offer something known as non-owner insurance. This type of insurance is liability-only, meaning it will not provide for your damages if you cause an accident in someone else’s car. What it will do is protect you from the third-party liability claims of other drivers if you are responsible for a collision in an uninsured vehicle.
Contact our personal injury lawyers today
Talk to Our Firm About the Accident
Even if you were not driving your car during an accident, your insurance might be on the hook for any damages that occur. Whether or not your policy will cover the damages will depend on the specific language it contains.
If someone else caused a collision in your car, our team wants to discuss the case. To talk about your options with a member of our firm, call (877) 239-4878 for a free consultation with Loncar Lyon Jenkins today.