There are two scenarios in which you could have gotten into an accident in someone else’s car: if you were a passenger or if you borrowed the vehicle. In either scenario, you could be facing the consequences, including serious injury, property damage, and even criminal charges such as vehicle theft.
Here at The Law Place, we can help you if you got into a car accident whilst driving another vehicle, regardless of whether or not you are facing legal consequences. Our team of experienced attorneys covers both criminal defense and personal injury cases. So, whether you’re facing liability or looking to pursue compensation against another liable party, we can support you through the legal process.
The Law Place is a Florida law firm that specializes in traffic-related incidents. One of the things that set us apart from other firms in the state is that every member of our team works with a collaborative approach. So, when you choose to work with us, you benefit from the skills, experience, and knowledge of our whole workforce. With a strong record of winning cases and our top AVVO ratings, you can be sure you’re working with the best law firm for you and your case.
For your free legal consultation, contact our office today at (941) 444-4444.
Getting Into an Accident as a Passenger in Someone Else’s Car
If you were a passenger in a vehicle during a car accident, you have a number of legal rights when it comes to claiming compensation for your injuries and any other damages:
Does My Auto Insurance Company Cover Me as a Passenger?
If you get into an accident as a passenger in someone else’s car, you should never assume that you are not covered by your own insurance. Whilst you will have to check the exact wording of your policy, you may still be covered.
According to Florida Statute 627.736, in the State of Florida, all drivers are required to possess a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This is designed to cover drivers if they get into a car accident regardless of whether or not they were at fault.
If you get into an accident as a passenger and you possess your own vehicle with valid PIP insurance, your own auto insurance policy will cover you even if you were not driving and you were in someone else’s car. If you do not own a vehicle and do not possess this insurance cover, in some cases, the driver’s PIP policy will cover some of your damages.
Can I Sue for Damages as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
If you were a passenger involved in a car accident in someone else’s car, it is unlikely that you were at fault for the incident. However, you may still have suffered serious injuries, which resulted in expensive medical bills.
If this applies to you and your medical expenses exceed your PIP coverage, or the at-fault driver’s insurance did not cover you, it is possible for you to seek compensation by filing a claim or pursuing a lawsuit against a liable party. So, it is possible to sue another driver involved in your accident for damages or even the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger if you become seriously injured.
Getting Into an Accident if You Borrowed Someone Else’s Car
If you were driving someone else’s car at the time of an accident, your rights and obligations vary depending on whether or not you had the driver’s permission to operate the vehicle. If either of these applies to you, you’ll need to understand what compensation you are entitled to and what consequences you may face:
Does My Car Insurance Cover Me if I Borrowed Someone’s Car?
If you got into an accident whilst driving another person’s vehicle, you could share some liability for the accident. However, in the State of Florida, the owner of the vehicle can also be liable for an accident even if they were not driving. This is because they are still guilty of negligence for letting another individual drive their car (unless somebody took their car without express permission.)
If you borrowed a family member’s car and you live in the same house, you will likely be covered by this individual’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance unless otherwise specified. In some cases, PIP insurance also covers friends who have permission to drive your vehicle. So, you could also be covered by your friend’s insurance policy if you got into an accident in their car.
However, you will not be covered if:
- You stole the vehicle.
- You were explicitly excluded from the car owner’s insurance policy.
- You did not have the owner’s permission to drive the vehicle.
- The vehicle owner did not possess auto insurance.
Regardless of your circumstance, it’s important to carefully check the wording of your insurance policy. It’s also best to seek legal counsel from a law firm that specializes in car accidents if you are unsure.
What if I Stole a Car and Got Into an Accident?
If you were not authorized to drive someone else’s vehicle and you got into an accident, the situation is slightly more complicated. In this scenario, you could be facing criminal charges for joyriding, theft, or even carjacking.
Whilst the exact penalty you could receive depends on a number of different factors, some common crimes and penalties surrounding vehicle theft include:
- Carjacking with a deadly weapon – This is a first-degree felony with a term of imprisonment not exceeding life, according to Florida Statute 812.133.
- Grand theft of a vehicle worth under $100,000 – This is a third-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in prison according to Florida Statute 775.083.
- Grand theft of a vehicle worth more than $100,000 – This is a first-degree felony according to Florida Statute 812.014, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and 30 years in prison.
Vehicle theft is a serious crime in the State of Florida that comes with some harsh penalties. If you are facing any of these charges, you should contact The Law Place for legal advice from one of our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.
However, even if you are facing criminal charges, you should never assume that you are not entitled to claim compensation. By working with an experienced car accident attorney, it is possible that you could make a claim against someone else involved in your accident or even file a lawsuit in order to pursue compensatory damages.
I Got Into an Accident in Someone Else’s Car, But It Wasn’t My Fault
Regardless of whether you were a passenger in a vehicle or you were driving someone else’s vehicle, accidents can occur. This could be particularly devastating if the accident was not your fault, as you could be left with serious damages as a result of someone else’s negligence.
If this is the case for you, there are a few key legalities that you’ll need to be aware of:
If you had permission from the car owner to drive their vehicle and an accident happened that was not your fault, you’d likely be covered by their PIP insurance, as well as any secondary coverage such as Property Damage Liability insurance or even Bodily Injury Liability insurance.
However, you could also be entitled to receive compensation by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against another individual who may be at fault for your accident.
Depending on the route you choose to pursue compensation, you could be entitled to receive:
- Medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium.
- Property damage.
If you got into an accident in someone else’s motor vehicle, it could be the case that another individual involved claimed that you were at fault. This could leave you liable to pay for damages. These types of claims could come from another driver involved in your accident or the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger. This could be the case, for example, if the driver felt that you were behaving in a way that distracted them, thereby leading to an accident.
If you are facing any claims of liability from other drivers, you’ll need to get into contact with a car accident lawyer right away. If you do not address these claims, you could be required to pay for damages via your own insurance coverage or even out-of-pocket. This could also lower the amount of compensation you could be entitled to.
Florida’s Comparative Fault Law
It is possible that you got into your accident that wasn’t entirely your fault – but you could be partially to blame. For example, you may have been hit by another driver, but if you were distracted by your phone or were driving recklessly when this happened. In this case, you could be partially liable for the accident.
For these circumstances, Florida operates under a Comparative Fault law in accordance with Florida Statute 768.81. This means that when total damages have been decided, they will be split proportionately between you and the other at-fault party based on the extent to which you contributed to the accident. So, if you were 20% to blame, you would receive 80% of the compensatory damages, with the remaining 20% being awarded to the other driver.
What to Do if You Get Into a Car Accident in Someone Else’s Car
Regardless of whether you were a passenger in a car accident or if you got into an accident whilst driving someone else’s car, there is a process you’ll need to follow. Being aware of this process makes sure that you are fulfilling your legal obligations, but it also ensures that you don’t do or say anything to harm your chance of receiving compensation.
Remain at the Scene of the Accident
Regardless of whether or not you were committing a crime at the time you caused a car accident, you will have to remain at the accident scene until you have fulfilled your duty to render aid and provide information. If you flee the scene before carrying out these obligations, you will face serious penalties for being a hit-and-run driver. According to Florida Statute 316.061, leaving the scene of an accident is a second-degree misdemeanor. However, you could receive a more serious conviction if someone was injured or if you stole a vehicle.
Render Aid and Provide Information
According to Florida Statute 316.062, you are required to stay with your vehicle at the scene of the accident and to render any necessary aid to other accident victims. If no officers arrive at the scene, you’ll need to contact the relevant branch of local law enforcement to notify them that an accident has occurred.
You’ll also need to comply with police officers’ requests for information, including providing a valid license, as well as showing proof of your identity, address, and vehicle registration. If you were driving another person’s vehicle, it’s likely you’ll be asked to show proof that you had permission from the owner. However, you should bear in mind that you are not required to give any information which violates your Fifth Amendment right to withhold self-incriminating evidence.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Most insurers require you to report a car accident within 24 hours. So, you’ll need to contact your insurance company right away in order to do this.
Insurance companies can often use loopholes or try to get you to say something to reduce the compensation you will receive from them. So, it’s always best to find a law firm to represent you before speaking to your provider.
However, if you are not able to do this within the 24-hour deadline when you phone your auto insurance provider, you should simply report that an accident occurred. You should only state the facts and never:
- Admit fault for the accident.
- Comment on your injuries before you have been assessed by a medical professional.
- Agree to sign any forms before speaking to an attorney.
- Downplay any injuries you have received.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Once you have left the accident scene (and had yourself checked by a medical professional if you suffered from any injuries), you should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. If you are facing criminal charges, you should look for a criminal defense attorney who specializes in traffic crimes. If you have suffered from injuries, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. Here at The Law Place, we offer both types of legal support.
Contact The Law Place
If you were involved in an auto accident whilst driving someone else’s vehicle, whether you were a passenger, whether you borrowed a vehicle with permission, or if you stole a vehicle, get in touch with The Law Place today for legal advice and representation.
We can help with a number of key legal areas, including managing communication between you and your insurance company, navigating car insurance policies, filling out paperwork, defending you against any liability, and helping you to claim the level of compensation you deserve.
If you are facing criminal charges for vehicle theft or for driving without permission, it’s especially important to contact us as soon as possible. The sooner you get into contact, the faster we’ll be able to start building you a strong legal defense. We may be able to get your charges downgraded or even dropped altogether based on your circumstance.
For a free case evaluation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys, contact us today at (941) 444-4444.