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What Happens If I Let Someone Borrow My Car and They Get in an Accident?

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Person handing car keys through open window to young woman driver
When a friend or family member asks to borrow your car, you probably don’t expect them to get into an accident. But unfortunately, traffic collisions can happen at any time. If the person who borrowed your vehicle gets into a wreck in your car, you might have to contend with issues regarding who might be responsible for paying for the damages. If I let someone borrow my car and they get in an accident, what happens? Scroll down to learn about the process involved when someone crashes your car after borrowing it from you and how you can protect your legal rights.

What Happens If I Let Someone Borrow My Car and They Get in an Accident?

If I let someone borrow my car and they get in an accident, what will happen?

This is a far-too-common situation that many people face. If you let someone else borrow your vehicle, and they subsequently are involved in a wreck while driving your borrowed car, you’ll likely have to figure out who will pay for any resulting medical bills for the injuries that your friend and the other motorist might have suffered as well as the damages to both involved vehicles. This depends on who was at fault and the types of coverage available. As an initial matter, liability will need to be determined.

Determination of Liability

The first step you will need to complete is determining which driver was liable for causing the accident. The police officer who responded to the scene likely made an initial determination of fault and may have written a ticket to the person who borrowed your car or the other driver. You should get a copy of the accident report. If the accident happened in Springfield, you can get a copy through Carfax online but will need to wait for three days after the collision. If the accident was investigated by the Missouri Highway Patrol, you can call 573-526-6113 to request a copy, but you will need to wait ten days after the collision.

It’s important to understand that the initial determination of fault might not reflect the liability determination the insurance company might make. If you retain a lawyer, your attorney can help determine liability for the accident.

Insurance and Car Accidents Involving Borrowed Vehicles

In Missouri, all motorists are required to carry auto insurance with the following minimum liability coverage amounts:

  • $25,000 bodily injury for one person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident for two or more injured people
  • $25,000 property damage coverage
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per accident

Depending on the severity of the accident, these coverage amounts may or might not be enough to cover the losses involved.

If your friend or family member was at fault, your liability insurance will pay for the other motorist’s medical bills and vehicle damage up to its policy limits. This is because auto insurance in Missouri typically follows the vehicle instead of the driver. Your liability insurance will not pay for the damage to your vehicle, however. Liability insurance covers the other involved party when a motorist causes an accident but doesn’t cover the at-fault driver’s vehicle. If the damages to the other vehicle and involved parties exceed your policy limits, your friend’s or family member’s insurance company might offer secondary coverage. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, it will pay for the damages to your vehicle minus the deductible.

By contrast, if the other motorist was at fault, your insurance might not be involved. Instead, the at-fault motorist’s coverage will cover the damages to your vehicle and any medical bills your friend or family member suffered in the accident up to the at-fault driver’s policy limits.

What If the Person Used My Car Without Permission?

If someone took your car without your permission and caused an accident, you won’t be liable for the crash as long as you have reported your vehicle stolen. However, the situation can be more difficult if the person who used your car without permission is your friend or family member. An attorney will help to determine liability in that type of situation.

What Else Should I Know If I Let Someone Borrow My Car and They Get in an Accident?

In addition to determining which insurance company will be responsible for paying damages, you might also encounter problems with your insurance company if the driver who borrowed your car wasn’t named as a driver on your policy. If your friend or family member was seriously injured in the accident, your plan’s medical coverage might not cover them if they weren’t listed as a driver. In that case, they might need to file a claim against the other driver or with their insurance company.

Consult a Lawyer

An auto accident attorney can help untangle insurance issues following a car accident involving someone who borrowed your car. Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today for a free consultation at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.

Files under: Personal Injury