If you permit another driver to use your vehicle, and a car accident occurs, you have to file a claim with your own insurance company. Your policy covers the majority of medical bills, property damages, and other expenses. However, if losses reach beyond your policy threshold, you can make a claim against the at-fault driver.
Who Is Liable if Someone Else Wrecks Your Car?
In most cases, your car insurance coverage applies to your vehicle more than you as a driver. So, the regular rules of liability usually apply. Under Georgia Code §51-1-6, the person who causes a car accident is legally liable for all damages, including injury costs and property damage.
If someone else is driving your car and another person causes the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance is usually responsible for covering costs. On the other hand, if the driver of your car is at fault, your car insurance will usually cover damages. However, there are some exceptions to this. If you’re unsure how your specific coverage works, contact your auto insurance carrier.
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What if the Person Driving Your Car Has Their Own Insurance Policy?
If the person driving your car has their own auto insurance policy, their coverage may act as secondary insurance to yours. However, it’s an auto insurance myth that a non-owner driver is fully responsible. Your own auto insurance would still be considered the primary coverage.
Let us suppose another person driving your car causes a car accident. Since they were at fault in your vehicle, your insurance is responsible for the damages. However, a problem can arise if your policy only covers the damages up to a certain dollar amount.
If the costs of the accident are more than your policy limit, then the insurance of the person driving your car may cover what is left.
What if Your Car Insurance Refuses to Pay for an Accident?
There are a few situations where your insurance may refuse to pay for damages if someone else was driving your car. These instances include when:
- Someone takes your car without your permission.
- The person driving your car has been explicitly excluded from your insurance policy.
- The driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or does not have a valid license.
How Do You Prove You Gave Someone Permission to Drive Your Car?
It is very hard to prove whether or not someone had permission to drive your car. If you cannot prove you did not grant them permission and an accident happened, you might get stuck paying for damages.
You might also specifically leave someone off your insurance policy if they have a bad driving record, and you know it will increase your premiums. If you then let that person drive your car and it leads to an accident, your insurance will not have to pay those damages. You will be left having to pay those damages out-of-pocket.
Lastly, you will probably be liable for damages if the person driving your car is doing something illegal, such as driving under the influence or not having a valid driver’s license.
What Should You Do After Someone Else Crashes Your Car?
After a car accident happens in your car, even if it does not involve you, it is crucial to act quickly. You will have two years from the date of the accident to seek damages after a personal injury accident. Considering that gathering evidence and building a case can take months, that time can go quickly.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
The best first step is to contact a car accident lawyer. Since every car accident is different, you might need legal counsel based on your situation.
If the accident was not the fault of the person driving your car, an experienced attorney can make sure you seek compensation for damages. Even if you were not physically in the car during the accident, the at-fault driver should be held responsible for damages. The person driving your car may have injuries, and there is likely property damage to your vehicle.
Insurance companies will look for ways to pay out less than the accident costs are worth. A car accident lawyer can help protect your rights and fight for the recovery you deserve.
Understand Your Coverage
You should also ensure you understand your insurance policy’s rules and what it covers. Your attorney can look into this for you, as well. Suppose you only purchase the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage as required by Georgia law.
In that case, you will have $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage, $50,000 per accident and bodily injury liability coverage, and $25,000 per accident and property damage liability coverage. These costs are designed to cover medical expenses for you and the liable party if you are found responsible for causing the accident.
You may also have comprehensive, collision, gap insurance, rental car coverage, glass insurance, and other add-ons as part of your own policy. These could prove beneficial after a crash. However, since they are not a requirement, you may need to move forward with legal action against the liable party to cover these costs if you do not have this coverage.
Document the Accident
Make sure you or the driver calls the police right after the accident happens. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it will also create a record of the accident for your insurance claim.
If you were in a car accident, take notes and pictures.
Photograph the accident scene, injuries, and property damage. If you were not in the accident, make sure the driver of your vehicle documents these things. You can also speak with any witnesses about what they saw and get their names and contact information.
Take time to note how the accident occurred, including details you may forget later. If possible, make a note of homes or businesses nearby that may have caught the collision on camera. Your lawyer can contact them to obtain video surveillance footage that could support your claim against the liable party.
How Much Does an Attorney for These Car Accidents Cost?
Personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they do not get paid until you get your settlement check. If you lose your case, then we do not collect a dime. You essentially get to enjoy free representation until you settle.
Once the case is finished, we will collect the fees discussed with you during your free consultation.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help Proving Liability in a Car Accident
No matter who was driving your car during the accident, you may be entitled to compensation if you were not at fault. At John Foy & Associates, we can help you pursue the money needed to cover your damages. With over 20 years of experience helping car accident victims, we know what it takes to win a case.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the details.