Car accidents can be difficult to navigate as a driver, but what if it’s your car and you’re not the driver? Let’s say your friend asked you to lend them your car. Sure, why not, you say, but then they end up in a car accident. The circumstance is certainly not pleasant and is complicated since there is the big question that lingers above you – are they liable for the damages of your car?
There is no straight answer to this question. The liability can depend on many factors. What you can do in such a case is hire a Boston car accident attorney because you will surely need to get legal consultation.
Factors That Will Affect the Loaned Car Accident
It’s very important if you have your car for a family member, a friend, co-worker, or a roommate. In most cases, they will be covered by your insurance policy (in case you truly allowed them to drive your car). If they took the car without your permission (which is a car theft) then it is possible that you are not liable for the damages.
Another factor that may affect the situation is if this person is part of your household. You should check this with your insurance. In case this person is explicitly excluded from your policy, your insurance won’t cover the crash and you might have to pay for the damages from your own money.
It’s also important if you have lent your car to an unlicensed or impaired driver. You might get sued for allowing someone without driving privileges to use your car. It’s also important if the damages exceed the insurance limits. You might have to cover the damages from your pocket if they are higher than your insurance policy limits (or if the driver doesn’t have their insurance to cover the excess).
Understand Your Insurance Policy
Massachusetts is a no-fault state which means each driver’s insurance pays for their medical bills (no matter who caused the accident). Drivers in this state purchase PIP coverage for this purpose. You should learn if your insurance covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses no matter who is responsible for the accident.
In most cases, your insurance policy is for your car, not the driver, so if your friend or family member borrows your car and ends in an accident, your insurance will be the first coverage that will apply. However, what is covered depends on the facts and circumstances of the accident. Be sure to understand your insurance policy, including what it covers and the policy limits.
Even though the best way to avoid any liability is to not lend your car to anyone if you ought to do this, use discretion and caution when deciding who can drive your car. Members of your family can generally drive your car and are considered on your insurance as legal drivers.
In some cases, car owners might choose to exclude specific drivers from their insurance plans; this way they are not going to be covered if they drive your car and end up in an accident. Even though these people you decided to exclude are part of your family, it does not mean they are privileged to drive your car whenever. This means you don’t trust them enough.
They may be new drivers, teenagers, or people who had a history of accidents or drunk driving in the past. In case one of these people end up in an accident while they were driving your car, the insurance policy may not cover the damages that happened after the accident, and you may be at fault.
Should You Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident?
Although cases like these can be settled with your own insurance company, sometimes family relations might be complex. Or, if your car was driven by your friend or roommate, you might find yourself in an odd situation. Being liable and having to pay for the damages someone else made can affect your budget seriously. Your friendship and relation with the other person can be affected as well.
It is advisable to talk to an attorney after such an accident so you can get a better picture of what you can expect. Your attorney will guide you into the process and advise you what you should do.
If you are seeking skilled car accident attorneys, our team at Soto Law is here to help you. We will review your case and stand by you until it is completely settled. Call our office and schedule your first free consultation.