Despite the expense and wreckage involved in a car accident, dealing with the fallout of such an accident is usually a fairly straightforward process. The keyword there is usually, because there can be complications that turn a relatively simple accident into a more complex situation. One of those complications is if your friend borrows your car and then gets into an accident. What happens then?
Before you confront your friend about what happened, you should contact a car accident attorney first. You will need their help and expertise to sort out the mess and find out what your options are. If you live in the St. Louis area and a friend has wrecked your car, then you should contact lawyers Hipskind and McAninch to get the help that you need.
Who Pays For the Accident?
You would think that your friend is liable for the expenses involved in the accident, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. If your friend was at fault for the accident, then you are on the hook. That means your insurance company will have to pay for all of the damages. The reason is that car insurance is for the car and not the driver, so it does not matter who was behind the wheel when the accident occurred. That is because the car owner will always have vicarious liability for anyone who is allowed to operate their vehicle.
You will be responsible for most of the coverage, but if the damages exceed your limits, then your friend’s car insurance policy will have to cover the rest. That is assuming that your friend has an auto insurance policy. If they do not, then you will have to pay the difference out of pocket. Car insurance policies include a permissive use clause that allows someone else to periodically use the vehicle. Periodically usually means less than twelve times a year. If a friend is using it more often than that, then they should be added to the insurance policy, though that could drive up the premiums.
Insurance Coverage Exceptions
There are a few cases where your auto insurance will not cover the accident if it was caused by a friend who borrowed your vehicle.
You did not give permission – Since the driver was not given permission when they crashed the vehicle, their insurance, not yours will have to cover the losses. Note that in some cases it can be difficult to prove that you did not give them permission.
The driver was excluded – Some insurance policies provide the option to exclude certain drivers from coverage. If an excluded driver crashes the car, then the insurance will not cover it.
The car was stolen – If the car is stolen, then that means the driver was unauthorized, so you and your insurance company will not be held liable for any damages.
The driver had an invalid driver’s licence – In this case, the insurance company will not cover the accident, and both you and your friend could be held liable for the accident.
Contact an Attorney If Your Friend Wrecked Your Car
There are many scenarios where a lawyer could be useful if a friend wrecks your car: if they caused significant damage to someone else, then you could end up in a lawsuit; if it turns out that your friend was unfit to drive, then you could be held responsible for negligent entrustment.
Plus there is the scenario where the wreck was not your friend’s fault. No matter the case, if a friend wrecks your car, you need to contact a car accident attorney to find out what you need to do next.