What Happens if Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?

What Happens if Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?

In Nevada, if someone borrows a vehicle and gets into an accident, the vehicle owner’s insurance, the borrower’s insurance, and the at-fault driver’s insurance might cover the damages, depending on the circumstances. Under the fault state scheme, the drivers responsible for the crash are legally liable for the medical bills, property damage, and other accident-related costs. 

Auto insurance typically covers the vehicle more than the driver. If the car borrower was to blame for the accident, the car owner’s insurance company will cover the damages and losses up to the policy limit. The borrower’s insurance company will offset the rest of the damages. 

Does the Vehicle Owner’s Auto Insurance Cover Other Drivers? 

In Nevada, the vehicle owner’s auto insurance can cover accident-related expenses, regardless of the driver. The policy can cover the car owner and borrower. This insurance rule has an exception. The car borrower must have had the owner’s permission to drive the car. 

If the driver did not have consent to operate the vehicle, the car owner is solely responsible for the car-accident-related expenses. If the vehicle borrower has auto insurance, his or her policy would serve as secondary coverage to the owner’s policy. The car owner’s auto insurance policy will be the primary coverage. This rule helps offset the liabilities that exceed the owner’s auto insurance policy limit. 

When Happens if the At-Fault Driver is a Spouse or Someone Named in the Policy?

Typically, the policy lists the spouse and other family members as beneficiaries. That is unless the policyholder excludes any of these household members. Parties named in the insurance policy enjoy the same coverage as the car owner. If a spouse or another family member borrows the vehicle and gets into an accident, the damages get paid by the car owner’s insurance. 

What Happens If the Accident Involves a Teen Driver? 

A teenage driver with a valid driver’s license gets included in the policy. If the teen driver gets into an accident in a borrowed vehicle, the car owner’s insurance company is responsible for paying the compensation claim. 

Teens with permits are also beneficiaries of the auto insurance policy. Teens who are yet to acquire either a driving permit or a license are not covered. Parents and guardians whose teenage children get into accidents often incur damage since they choose not to report the accident to the police. Without a police report, it becomes impossible to hold the insurer responsible for the arising expenses. 

What Happens If the Car Borrower Drives Out of the Allowed Areas? 

Permitted drivers who get into accidents beyond the agreed areas are deemed to violate the consent. If such a driver causes injuries or property damage, the owner’s auto insurance will not be held responsible. The involved driver’s insurance company may also deny compensation if the driver contravened the permission. Car owners should set clear limitations detailing where the car borrower can drive to avoid conflicts. 

What Happens If the Accident Was Not the Fault of the Car Borrower? 

In Nevada, the at-fault driver pays for the expenses and losses arising from the accident. If the car borrower was not liable, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might cover the damage. This means that if a car is rear-ended in Las Vegas, the driver that caused the collision’s insurance company would cover damages.

What Happens if the Permitted Driver Lends Out the Car to Another Driver?

Provided the car borrower has obtained the owner’s permission, the borrower has the right to extend the courtesy to other parties. In the event of an accident caused by another motorist, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would be liable for the damages. If the person behind the wheel was liable, the car owner’s policy covers the damages. In both cases, coverage does not apply to crashes that occur outside the permitted driving areas. 

What Happens If Uninsured, Permitted Car Borrowers Get into an Accident? 

If an uninsured, permitted driver causes an accident, the owner’s auto insurance will cover the accident-related expenses up to the cover limit. The owner risks having to foot the outstanding balance out of pocket.

If another driver was responsible for the accident, the car owner’s policy may cover the damage and seek reimbursement from the liable driver’s insurance company. Car owners should always insist on confirming the insurance status of anyone borrowing their vehicles. 

What Happens If the Car Borrower Does Not Have a Valid Driver’s License?

It does not matter whether the person behind the wheel has a valid driver’s license. The at-fault party remains the most important consideration for insurance companies. If the unlicensed driver gets into an accident, the owner’s auto insurance is responsible for the arising damages. If the accident occurred due to another driver’s fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would be liable. 

Lending vehicles to unlicensed drivers is risky because such drivers do not have access to auto insurance. That leaves the owner vulnerable to compensating for all the accident-related expenses. Since it is illegal to allow unlicensed drivers to operate a vehicle, the owner risks criminal charges. These violations get classified as misdemeanor offenses that attract hefty fines and penalties. To avoid these charges, the car lender needs to prove that they were completely unaware of the unlicensed status of the borrower. 

When Can an Insurance Company Deny Liability?

Even though the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for any ensuing accident-related injuries and damages, some exceptions may void the cover. These exceptions include: 

  • When the car owner had excluded the person behind the wheel from the auto insurance policy 
  • When the driver involved in the crash did not have the car owner’s permission
  • When the vehicle borrower gets into an accident while drunk or under the influence of controlled substances
  • If the vehicle borrower was using the vehicle for business purposes

Proving that the Borrowed Car Driver Had Permission from the Car Owner

Proving that someone had permission to operate the vehicle involved in the accident is often a daunting task. The car owner’s or the at-fault driver’s insurance company needs to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the other person had permission for it to pay the claim. Otherwise, the vehicle’s owner is solely responsible for the resulting medical bills and other expenses. 

The Course of Action Following a Borrowed Car Accident  

The car owner or the involved driver should take the following after-crash steps:

Checking for Injuries and Calling 911 

The involved driver should check anyone involved in the accident for injuries. If the driver or others involved have suffered severe injuries, calling 911 is the fastest and most reliable way to report the crash and obtain emergency medical assistance.

Documenting the Accident Scene and Exchanging Information 

The involved driver should take time-stamped pictures of the accident scene and the surrounding areas. The driver should also take photos of injuries sustained and damage to the vehicle involved. The involved driver needs to exchange insurance information and contact details with the other driver. Speaking to witnesses and collecting their contact information is also instrumental in building a solid case. 

Informing the Insurance Company About the Accident 

The involved driver and car owner should report the accident to the respective insurance company without delay. Reporting the crash helps the insurer start the compensation process right away. The sooner the insured acts, the sooner the compensation. 

Getting a Car Accident Attorney Involved 

Involving a Nevada car accident attorney from the beginning may help things run more smoothly. The involved driver or car owner may even avoid a lawsuit altogether. The attorney can obtain witness accounts and gather crucial evidence while still fresh.

The attorney can also quickly build a strong claim for the involved driver or car owner. The sooner the driver or vehicle owner gets an attorney on board, the sooner he or she obtains the full extent of damages from the insurance company or companies. Often, parties who represent themselves get a low-ball settlement from insurance companies. 

What Options are Available to Injured Passengers?

The vehicle owner and involved driver bear responsibility for the passengers. A person injured in a car accident as a passenger has the right to sue the owner for damages. Passengers can also pursue damages from the at-fault driver. 

What Happens if the Car Borrower Flees the Accident Scene? 

It is illegal to leave the accident scene following an auto crash. Drivers who flee may get charged with a misdemeanor. If the accident led to a serious bodily injury or death, this charge might get upgraded to a felony. Both are serious charges that carry heavy fines and possible jail time. If the person behind the wheel gets killed, the owner’s auto insurance still pays for the arising expenses and damage. 

Do These Accidents Affect the Owner’s Insurance Rates?

Lending out the car has no impact on the auto insurance rates. These rates might increase if a permitted driver not named in the policy gets involved in an accident. The insurance rates might get revised upwards if the permitted driver was responsible for the accident. Some insurance companies may refuse to offer coverage to a client who lends out his or her vehicle.

Why Do Crash Victims Seek Compensation?

Auto accidents in the U.S. lead to over 38,000 fatalities per year. These road crashes cause severe injuries to more than 4.4 million Americans every year. People involved in such accidents end up spending thousands of dollars treating the resulting injuries. Road crashes leave some victims with permanent disabilities that effectively render them unable to work. 

People seek compensation to cater to the medical costs incurred from the accident. The accident victims need compensation for lost earnings, cost of long-term care, lost future income, pain and suffering, and more. The monetary compensation may also pay for the funeral expenses and accrued medical bills if the crash victims succumb to their injuries. 

What is the Cost of Working with a Car Accident Lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada? 

In Nevada, most car accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement enables clients to enjoy free legal representation until they win a settlement. The attorney then obtains a mutually agreed percentage from the settlement as attorney’s fees. In this arrangement, the cost of working with an accident lawyer in Nevada varies with the settlement amount received.