A car accident can cause confusion when determining who is legally responsible for paying for it. Financial liability is assigned to the at-fault driver. In most cases, auto insurance covers the car, not the driver. That means what happens if someone else is driving your car and has an accident will depend on who is at fault.
It can be challenging to understand all the legal nuances of a car accident—especially if the other driver is uninsured—if your car was involved in the accident but you were not. The best way to sort everything out and recover compensation for your damaged car is to hire a car accident lawyer from a personal injury law firm. They will typically review your case at no cost to you and demand fair and appropriate compensation on your behalf.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Will Cover Initial Car Accident Expenses
If you live in a state where PIP insurance is mandatory or added it to your policy in a state where it is not, it will cover many of the accident’s initial expenses. If a car accident lawyer represents you, they will explore this part of your policy first. In general, it will cover:
- Reasonable medical bills
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Accident-related lost income
- Household maintenance
If the person who drove your car was the at-fault driver, the injured party’s insurance will cover these initial costs regardless of fault. If the other driver was at fault, your PIP insurance will cover these initial costs for the person who borrowed your car.
A distinct advantage of PIP coverage is its ability to kick in immediately and cover necessary expenses. It can help the borrower of your car get the medical care they need without delay. It can also help the injured party in the other car in the same way.
Recovering the Costs of Your Damaged or Destroyed Car Can Be Complicated
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), insurance usually follows the car and will cover damages caused by an occasional driver. If your car was lent to a member of your household, though, they should be listed on your policy.
If someone else was driving your car and caused an accident or was in a single-car collision, your insurance company should cover repair or replacement costs. You are responsible for any resulting deductible, but you can recover that cost from the borrower.
If the person who caused the accident was not at fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance should provide financial compensation for their recoverable damages. They should also cover the costs of restoring your car to its pre-accident condition. If your car is declared a total loss, they should provide compensation for its replacement value.
The other driver’s insurance might cover some or all the damage caused by the accident, including any shortfall in your insurance coverage.
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What Compensation Will My Insurance Company Pay if My Friend Was at Fault?
Compensation after a car accident is the responsibility of the at-fault driver and their insurance provider. To prove negligence and fault, the injured party’s representative must establish the at-fault party’s duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Once these are established, the injured party’s representative will demand the following compensation:
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Car damage
- Total car loss
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- Wrongful death damages, if applicable
Consequently, if the person driving your car was not at fault, they will recover these same damages from the negligent driver’s insurance company. Their attorney will assess their recoverable damages and demand appropriate compensation on their behalf.
Will My Insurance Rates Increase Even if I Was Not the Driver in an Accident?
Insurance rates can rise after a claim is filed or due to a poor driving record, according to III. Whether this happens in your case will depend on various factors. An increase in your insurance rate can last as long as three years.
Be careful about loaning out your car and ensure the other driver has the proper license and a good driving record. If your car’s driver was a minor, was excluded from your policy in writing, or stole your car, it could cause even further complications.
Permissive Versus Non-Permissive Use of Your Vehicle
Your insurer will cover your car and anyone you permit drive it. The state where you registered your car may reduce coverage even if your car was being driven with your permission.
If someone drove your car without your permission, the borrower’s insurance will cover the costs of the collision. If they were uninsured, your insurance may cover these costs.
Review the accident’s details, the person who borrowed your car, and the at-fault driver’s action with your lawyer. Most will do so at no cost and can explain where you stand and your rights and responsibilities as the vehicle owner.
What if My Insurance Company Refuses to Cover the Accident’s Costs?
If your insurer disclaims, you may want to hire a car accident lawyer to recover the cost of repairing or replacing your car. A lawyer will examine your case’s details and prove you are due appropriate compensation.
Getting your car fixed and paying the other expenses can be even more challenging if fault for the accident is shared or unclear. A lawyer can help the person who drove your car accurately apportion negligence and liability.
Put the Strong Arm to Work on Your Car Accident Case
If you loaned a friend or family member your car and they had an accident, you need to know what happens with insurance and compensation when someone else is driving your car when an accident occurs.
Post-accident compensation can be challenging. Focus on improving your health and well-being and let our law firm handle this potentially complicated legal matter for you. Contact our car accident review team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins for help with your case today.