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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

Who is Liable in a Car Accident? Owner or Driver?

If you have recently had an accident, or know someone who has had an accident driving the vehicle of another person, then you may be interested in knowing who is actually liable in a car accident. The owner? The driver?

Now, it is pretty easy to assume that it's the driver's fault and that they are responsible for the accident due to their actions. However, it is not always as simple as that. Lawyers, the driver's insurance company, the owner's insurance company...who is involved?

Car accident procedures can be rather difficult and drawn out due to them being so complex. It can be difficult to know who is liable and responsible, and if there is bodily injury, or no insurance, there could be more issues for the person or people involved. All of this makes it difficult to know who is liable in a car accident.

Regardless of them being complex, after reading this article, you should have a much better understanding regarding who is actually liable and responsible in a car accident where there is property damage or bodily injury. Should you be interested in knowing more about who is liable and responsible in a car accident, the owner or driver, you can come to our firm where we can provide you with a free consultation and car accident attorney. A car accident attorney can assist with any insurance claims of personal injury, bodily injury, or damages for a car owner who has a car accident.

Is the car owner liable in a car accident?

Is the Registered Car Owner Liable in a Car Accident?

So, if you own the vehicle and have given someone else permission to drive, and said vehicle has been in a car accident, you may be concerned as to what happens when someone else is driving the car and gets in a car accident. Luckily, this is all ironed out in this section, so after reading it, you should be aware of exactly what the legal implications of this might be as a car owner.

The car owner and its driver whether they are a friend or friend of a friend, are also covered by insurance that the owner has. As a result, in an accident, the owner is not responsible for any accidents caused by a friend, family member, somebody else, or any other person while they are driving the vehicle of the owner. However, the auto owner's insurance can have primary compensation for the driver (if that person had permission to drive). So, if a car owner loans his or her vehicle to a friend, and the friend causes a car accident that injures someone else, the car owner's insurance should cover the injured person for recoverable costs so long as the person who was driving has the permission of the car owner. The injured person could be the owner of the vehicle or could be the other party, or non-owner.

In an accident, the owner is not liable for any incidents that occur as a result of the theft of the owner's car or other unauthorized use of the car of the owner as they have not given permission in this circumstance. Only those incidents in which the car owner allowed or consented or gave permission to the driver's use of the vehicle are covered by the owner's insurance and can gain compensation. Compensation is typically monetary.

Our personal injury law firm can provide you as the owner with an attorney who can assist you with any further questions. The personal injury attorney that we provide you is always well versed in the law and can assist you even if you are responsible for an accident. The personal injury lawyer can deal with any injury or claim against you. All you have to do is make a call to our personal injury law firm today to get your free meeting.

Do I Sue the Driver or Car Owner?

Car accidents may occur without warning, and you might not realize what caused the collision at the time. After you've received the necessary medical treatment, make a point of gathering evidence to demonstrate what happened in the moments leading up to the car accident. Although most car accidents are caused by driver negligence, there may be other parties at fault or that are not immediately apparent. You could have a greater chance of getting full compensation for your injuries and damages if you may include more defendants in your suit.

One or both of the drivers involved in a collision is the first place to look into a liability. Under the principle of ordinary negligence, a driver whose dangerous conduct caused the car accident may be found liable in a car accident. This clearly means that they did not take the safety precautions that a rational person would have taken when driving. Multiple drivers can be responsible in chain-reaction accidents involving multiple vehicles. Including all relevant drivers in the case should provide a victim with several of the driver's insurance plans. This is important because one person's insurance policy may not be enough to cover multiple victims' traumatic injuries.

If a car owner allows someone they shouldn't have trusted to drive their car and that person causes a car accident, you might be able to sue the car owner the basis of reckless entrustment that caused the accident. This is especially true in teen driver accidents where the teen responsible was driving a parent's vehicle. The trick would be demonstrating that the car's owner should have known the driver was a dangerous driver who could cause an accident with the vehicle. In most cases involving a stolen vehicle, negligent entrustment would not apply because the owner of the vehicle may not have expected the driver to be driving their vehicle.

If a driver is found to be the cause of a car accident while on the job, their employer can be held liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability. This is so regardless of whether or not the employer was reckless. If you were struck by the vehicle of a delivery driver who crossed a red light, for example, you could sue the company that employed them if the driver was not an independent contractor.

An employer's negligence could have led to a car accident in some situations. You may be able to sue the employer on the basis of negligent management, hiring, or training, among other theories. They may have employed a driver with a history of DUIs, or they may have implemented policies that encourage drivers to speed or drive recklessly. In such cases, the employer may have neglected to inspect or maintain a car properly. Any of these hypotheses would necessitate clear proof of negligence against the employer which could have legal implications.

What if someone is driving my car?

What Happens if Someone Drives Your Car and Gets in a Car Accident?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, your auto insurance policy is called primary insurance in many states if somebody else wrecks your vehicle. That is, the coverage you selected on your policy or insurance company would assist in covering the collisions or car harm sustained by the driver.

Should someone else drive your car and be the reason for the car accident, here are some ways in which your insurance coverage or insurance company may assist you:

  • Collision Coverage: If you have crash coverage, it may be able to assist you in paying for your vehicle's repairs as the car owner. Keep in mind that you must first pay your premium (the sum you must pay before your insurance kicks in).

  • Auto-Liability Coverage: This coverage can assist in the payment of another person's medical bills or the repair of a damaged vehicle as a result of the car accident. Your liability insurance does not cover your friend's medical costs or your own car repairs.

  • Coverage of Medical Payments: This coverage can help pay for medical bills if the driver of your vehicle is injured in a car accident that they caused.

It's also a good idea to be aware of a few exceptions to how your insurance could operate. To begin with, don't presume that your insurance would cover the car accident and any damages even if you are the car owner. Some rules, for example, do not protect relatives who live with you unless they are expressly named on your policy. Other policies can protect you as the car owner, but only to a certain extent. Second, if your car's driver isn't found to be at fault for the collision, you may not have to worry about your insurance being affected. This is because the insurance of the at-fault driver should cover your friend's injuries as well as your car's repairs. In this case it may be beneficial to know who is at fault in a car accident t-bone.

Keep in mind that state regulations differ, so make sure you read the policy papers thoroughly to learn what's protected. Enquire with your agent if you have any concerns about your coverage or how it protects another driver and yourself as the car owner.

Can a Car Owner be Sued for Another Driver's Accident?

It's important that you understand the phrase negligent entrustment and what it means if someone who was driving your car was involved in a car accident.

Negligent entrustment is described as allowing someone who is unfit to drive to operate your vehicle. In general, if the person you let drive your car meets one or more of the following conditions or circumstances, you could be held liable for being complicit in the crash, even if you were not present at the time.

  • The person driving the vehicle was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

  • The driver involved in the crash was either unlicensed or knowingly underage.

  • The individual behind the wheel has a history of reckless driving. A history of reckless driving can be in the form of multiple traffic violations or speeding tickets.

  • The driver of the motor vehicle lacked the experience to safely operate the vehicle.

  • It was known to the car owner that the operator of the vehicle had reduced reactions or visibility as a result of an illness, medical condition, or old age.

  • The operator was an unlicensed company driver.

It's important to remember that proving negligent entrustment requires proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were aware that the driver in question was a hazard and possibly liable.

Finally, if you are found to be negligent and responsible as the car owner, you can be held liable for financial damages in a civil action, but each case may vary depending on the particular circumstances of the car accident and the sense in which it occurred. You need our law firm to help. Pick up the phone, call our office, and no matter who was involved, from your family to the driver's friend, we can help.

Even if the car owner was not driving, negligent entrustment is one of the most common grounds for suing them, although there are a few other special cases to be aware of where the car owner can be liable for damages in a car accident.

The Bottom Line

It is important that you consider personal injury law when evaluating who is liable in a car accident. Should you be unsure of the situation, you can contact or phone our firm for a free consultation. We can provide you with lawyers who are extremely experienced in the matter and are able to assist you with your claim. Regardless of whether or not there is an injury involved in the car accident our law firm can provide you with a lawyer or car accident attorney who is able to deal with the matter in a way that is both satisfactory and beneficial to the client in question. Give our law firm a call to get your free meeting with a member of our law firm to see who is liable for damages.

Whether you are liable for damages, are liable for property damage, are uncertain on what to do, or require assistance with your insurance company, contact our law firm for the best assistance as a car owner. Come to our office to get your free consultation. At this law firm, we can find a lawyer to assist you with your claim.


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