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What If Someone Else Drives My Car And Has An Accident?

What If Someone Else Drives My Car and Has an Accident?

What If Someone Else Drives My Car and Has an Accident? If someone else is driving your car and is in a car accident, you may want to know if your losses will still be covered as if you were driving. In Virginia, the person who causes an accident is liable for the subsequent damages. If the person driving your car was at fault, your car insurance will likely pay for losses from that accident, subject to some exceptions. The driver’s insurance coverage can come into play if the losses exceed the limits of your insurance coverage.

Lending your car to someone is always a risk, but sometimes it is unavoidable. If you want to understand the implications of an accident, contact The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, to talk to an attorney.

Who Is Financially Liable for Accidents in Virginia?

In Virginia, the person who causes an accident is responsible for the financial losses incurred by the injured parties. Car accidents can result in costly medical bills and lost wages from missing work that easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays these losses, though a car accident attorney may need to negotiate for a fair offer first. Virginia requires drivers to maintain minimum insurance coverage limits of $30,000 for injury or death of one person, $60,000 for injury or death of two or more people, and $20,000 for property damage. Drivers can purchase additional insurance coverage that pays for certain expenses and repairs regardless of who is at fault. 

What If Someone Else Drives My Car and Has an Accident?

As stated above, the person responsible for causing the accident is liable for the losses stemming from the collision. The car owner’s vehicle policy applies to any other drivers of the vehicle as long as they have the owner’s permission to operate their car. In other words, your auto insurance policy follows the vehicle, not the driver. If the losses arising from the collision exceed the car owner’s insurance coverage limits, the driver’s insurance coverage pays those costs.

If someone takes your vehicle against your will and gets into an accident, your insurance policy will not cover damages. You will bear the burden of proving to your insurance company that you did not allow the at-fault driver to drive your vehicle.

Can My Insurance Company Deny Coverage If Someone Besides Me Was Driving?

Your insurance company can deny coverage if someone drove your vehicle without your permission and caused a car accident. That would include someone who stole your vehicle and then caused a collision.

If the person you let drive your vehicle did not have car insurance coverage, you are responsible for any losses that exceed your insurance coverage limits.

How to Determine Who Caused an Accident in Virginia

Regardless of who was driving the vehicle, determining fault requires proving negligence. Negligence requires proof of four elements: 

  • Duty of care, 
  • Breach of duty, 
  • Causation, and 
  • Losses. 

Every driver owes a duty of care to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner, even when they drive someone else’s car. Proving that a driver owed another driver a duty of care is typically straightforward because all drivers owe others an obligation to act as a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances.

A driver can breach their duty of care when they fail to act as a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. A driver may breach their duty of care by:  

  • Speeding,
  • Driving recklessly,
  • Texting and driving,
  • Ignoring traffic signs or signals, and
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Causation is the third element of a negligence claim. To prove causation, the plaintiff must show the driver’s breach caused the collision that led to their injuries. In other words, the injured party must prove that they would not have suffered their injuries but for the driver’s breach.

Lastly, a car accident lawsuit compensates the plaintiff for damages caused by the accident. Thus, the plaintiff must prove they suffered losses in the collision to recover.

A negligence analysis can help determine whether the person you loaned your vehicle to is responsible for the accident or the other driver.

What If Both Drivers Are Responsible for an Accident?

Virginia law follows a contributory negligence rule for recovery in personal injury lawsuits.

Contributory negligence means that if a person is found to be even 1% responsible for the car accident that caused their injuries, they cannot recover any damages in a personal injury claim

Consider that you let your friend borrow your car. Your friend is driving without headlights at night when someone runs a stop sign and hits them. The judge rules that your friend and the other driver contributed to the accident, barring a personal injury lawsuit by either party. Ultimately, your automobile insurance policy will cover the losses arising from the accident. An attorney can still negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure their settlement offer is enough to fix your vehicle.

Contact a Car Wreck Lawyer at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC

The last thing anyone wants to hear after letting someone use their car is that they got into a car accident. Unfortunately, this scenario happens to unsuspecting people every day. If you have questions about what happens if someone gets into an accident driving your vehicle, our team can help.

We have over 47 years of legal experience navigating personal injury lawsuits and car accident cases. Our team prioritizes meeting our clients one-on-one to listen to their questions and concerns. Then, we can build a unique strategy to demonstrate whose negligence caused the collision involving your vehicle.

Our team will review the circumstances of your case, collect information to determine who caused the accident, and calculate the extent of damages suffered in the collision. Contact The Law Office of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation.

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Carlton F. Bennett Mr. Bennett is recognized as an expert in traumatic brain damage litigation, nursing home malpractice, and wrongful death cases. He has obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for traumatic brain injury survivors, and other cases involving serious injuries.
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