It is a common scenario: your family member asks to borrow a car, or perhaps you and a friend go on a road trip and you want to delegate time behind the wheel. What happens in the event of an accident? Are you responsible for damages to your car, other vehicles, or the medical expenses of your driver?
It depends on the circumstances. It is incumbent upon you to read and understand your insurance policy as every policy is different. In most cases, insurance companies expect you to list licensed drivers living in your household on your policy regardless of whether you are related to them.
Florida is a No-Fault State
“No-fault” simply means that an accident involving a motor vehicle occurred in which there was a clear correlation between the vehicle and bodily injury. That means pedestrians hit by cars can receive personal injury benefits as can individuals actually in the car, but the injury has to be caused by the car. Florida is a no-fault state, so items like medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses are covered by your insurance company, but car owners are also required to have personal injury coverage.
Foremost, a driver must be permissive which means they have permission to drive an owner’s car. Without permission, the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for primary coverage. Often times, there is no need to notify your insurance company if you grant someone permission to drive your car. If someone steals your car and has an accident, your collision insurance will likely cover it and you won’t be held liable for anyone they injured.
One caveat: if you have any reason to suspect the person to whom you loan a car is intoxicated, reckless, or unfit to drive safely for any reason, you could be held liable for negligently entrusting them to drive under these circumstances. If you are a victim of such an accident, you likely have a case against the owner of the car. If you are the owner, the victim likely has a case against you.
Who Is Liable?
Ideally, the person to whom you loan your car has his or her own insurance. In the event that another person is injured in the accident, your driver’s personal (or bodily) injury protection will likely cover them. If they don’t injure anyone, your insurance will probably cover damages after you pay your deductible.
Your car insurance rates could increase as a result of loaning your car to someone who gets in an accident. However, if they are ticketed for the accident you don’t have to worry about that affecting your policy. The citation, at least, follows only the driver.
Finding a Reliable Attorney With Experience
Loaning your car only to have it involved in an accident can lead to liability issues especially if you had knowledge the driver was unfit. At DRG Law Firm, we believe those insured should receive the compensation they are entitled to after a vehicular accident, especially if it resulted in injury. We work closely with Miami residents and their insurance to understand what happened and collect as much evidence as possible to prove that you were not at fault. Call us today to schedule a FREE consultation.