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Understanding Liability When Someone Else Drives Your Car and Gets in an Accident

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Car Accident

Lending your car to someone is a common occurrence, often without any issues. However, the unfortunate reality is that accidents can happen, leaving you wondering about liability – whether you’ll be responsible for damages or if the driver will bear the responsibility. Legal scenarios are rarely black and white, and this situation is no exception. Let’s delve into the complexities to provide clarity.

The Veil of Auto Insurance

Your auto insurance safeguards not just you but also your vehicle. Even if someone else is driving and causes an accident, your insurance is likely to cover the resulting damages. If the damages exceed your policy limits and the driver has their own auto insurance, their coverage might come into play, especially in cases of significant injury.

Washington operates under the tort system, where accident victims seek compensation from the insurance company of the party at fault. Thus, if you lend your car and an accident occurs that’s not the driver’s fault, the responsibility for damages would fall on the at-fault party’s insurance.

Permissive Use Provision

Permissive use provision is a common inclusion in auto insurance policies. This provision permits you to lend your vehicle to others while retaining coverage. However, there may be a cap on how many times you can lend your vehicle. Should you foresee multiple borrowings, it’s advisable to add the driver to your policy.

Family members or those in your household are automatically covered by the permissive use provision, granting them unrestricted access to your vehicle throughout the year.

The Thorn of Negligent Entrustment

There are circumstances where your insurance may decline coverage, and you could face personal liability. Negligent entrustment – lending your vehicle to an unfit driver – can lead to coverage denial. It’s imperative to refrain from allowing someone to drive your car if they lack a valid license, are underage, have a history of reckless driving, suffer from conditions impairing their driving, are under the influence, or are elderly and unable to drive safely.

Defending Your Rights with Our Washington Car Accident Lawyers

When someone else operates your car and accidents occur, seeking legal counsel is paramount. Insurance companies might attempt coverage denial, even in unjustifiable situations. Our adept Washington car accident lawyers at Alliance Law Group ensure your rights are upheld and your interests are safeguarded. Reach out to us at 253-300-2055 to schedule a consultation, equipping yourself with the guidance and protection you need. Your legal standing deserves unwavering advocacy, and we’re here to provide just that.