You probably have allowed someone else to borrow your car at one time or another. However, you most likely never thought of the consequences and liability in the event that the person you allowed to borrow your vehicle causes a car accident.
In most cases, people think that that person driving their car would be held responsible for the car accident. However, the law states that you could be held liable for a car accident caused by the negligence of the person who borrowed your car in the State of Florida.
At The Law Place, we have over seventy-five years of collective experience and knowledge in helping people who have been involved in car accidents throughout the State of Florida. Our law firm has an in-depth understanding of traffic law and personal injury law, and we can guide you through the legal system with efficiency.
It is important that you understand your legal rights in the event that you have been involved in a car accident where the at-fault driver was not the car owner. A car accident lawyer from our law firm will tell you what you need to know in order to take legal action.
If you have questions in regard to your case, then you can get in touch with us now. Our phone lines are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation today.
Factors Involved in Driving Someone Else’s Car Accident
If the at-fault driver is not the car owner, then the question remains who is liable for the personal injury and property damage: the car owner, the driver, or both of them?
The simplest answer is usually both of them, but it is more complicated than that. There are many circumstances and factors that will determine the person who is financially liable in this situation, along with the requirements of the law.
The main factors include:
- What state did the car accident happen in?
- Did the driver have permission from the owner to operate the motor vehicle?
- Does the driver have a history of reckless or negligent behavior that the car owner knew about?
- What type of insurance did the driver and car owner have?
- What are the insurance coverage limits of the driver and car owner’s policies?
- Other complicated factors like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, auto theft, and more.
A car accident lawyer from The Law Place will review the details of your case, determine who is liable and establish a strong legal plan on your behalf. Call our office to set up a free consultation now.
Car Owner or Driver Accident Example
Every case involving a person borrowing someone else’s car is different from the next, so it is important that you speak to a car accident lawyer. However, the person who is named under the motor vehicle is primarily responsible as insurance will follow the car owner and not the one who was driving according to the law in the State of Florida.
Here is an example to help you understand better:
Lucas’ brother, Nathan, has come into town for the weekend. Lucas asks Nathan to take his car and go to the supermarket to buy ingredients to make dinner. On his way to the supermarket, Lucas collides with Brooke’s car. The damage to Brooke’s car is estimated at around $15,000. In addition, she has $15,000 left in unpaid medical bills after she reaches the $10,000 limit of her Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance for the injuries that she sustained in the car accident. Brooke’s total damages are $30,000.
Brooke and her lawyer will turn to Lucas and his insurance company first because he is the car owner, which means that the vehicle is insured under his name. However, if the limits of Lucas’ policy are exceeded, then Brooke can turn to Nathan and his insurance company to pay the remainder of her bills.
The question as to who is liable in a car accident involving the car owner and the driver is a highly complex case. Therefore, it is worth getting in contact with a car accident lawyer.
Insurance Laws When Someone Borrows Your Car
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that every owner of a car must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage up to $10,000 as part of their automobile insurance policy. If a driver or passengers in a car suffered injuries in an accident, then the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will pay the medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses without needing to know who was at fault in the collision.
The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance on your car is the primary source for benefits in the event that you suffer an injury in a car accident. In addition, the law extends the coverage of your insurance policy to:
- The members of your family that live inside of your household.
- The passengers inside of your motor vehicle.
- The person who was driving your motor vehicle.
- The pedestrians or bicyclists who were struck by your motor vehicle.
If a family member or friend borrows your car and suffers an accident while operating the motor vehicle, then they will submit their claim to your auto insurance company for the personal injuries that they sustained. A driver who was injured in another motor vehicle that was involved in the accident will have to submit their claim for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance against their own insurance company.
Owners Are Responsible for the Operation of Their Cars
The State of Florida follows no-fault laws in order to limit the number of personal injury lawsuits. An injured person has to file their claim through their own insurance company first instead of suing the at-fault party for compensation.
However, there are times where the at-fault party can be sued in the following cases:
- The car accident results in someone’s death.
- The car accident results in serious or permanent loss of an essential bodily function, like the loss of a limb.
- The car accident results in serious and permanent scarring.
- The car accident leads to an injury that a doctor claims to be permanent.
The owner of the vehicle and the driver of the vehicle could both be held liable in a lawsuit. In this case, the owner does not have to be inside the car at the time of the accident in order to face a lawsuit.
The personal injury lawyer of the injured person must be able to prove the three following statements in order to hold the car owner who was not operating the vehicle at the time of the accident liable for the injured person’s damages:
- The person was the owner of the car that was involved in the accident.
- The owner let the other individual drive the car.
- The person who was given the car was negligent behind the wheel, and they are the cause of injury.
It is possible that having joint ownership of a car between you and your family might not be a good idea because you could face a lawsuit in the event that your son or daughter borrows the family car and causes an accident in the State of Florida.
Exceptions to a Car Owner’s Liability
The liability of a car owner for an accident caused by the negligence of a driver will depend on the available evidence to prove that the owner granted permission to the driver. In most cases, permission can be expressed by the car owner when one of their friends asks to borrow the vehicle, and they hand over the car keys. But in other cases, permission can be implicit.
It is possible to prove implied permission by bringing evidence that shows a prior conversation between the car owner and the driver. For example, the car owner’s son or daughter has been using the vehicle with their permission to travel to school every Thursday for the past month. In this case, it implies that the son or daughter had permission to continue using the car unless the owner told them to stop.
However, a car owner might have proof to show the permissive use of the vehicle. In this situation, the law will limit the liability (Florida Statute 324.021) of a car owner as a result of the negligent driver. The limit includes $100,000 for the cost of injuries to a single person and $300,000 for injuries caused to a number of people simultaneously.
Compensation for Driving Someone Else’s Car Accident
The person who was injured in a car accident by negligent entrustment of a vehicle will be able to receive the following compensation:
- Medical bills – Past, present, and future medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and prescription medication.
- Lost income – A loss of income as a result of being unfit to work due to an injury. It also includes a reduced earning capacity and future lost income.
- Property damage – The cost of damage to a motor vehicle or other property.
- Pain and suffering – The physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional anguish felt after a car accident can reduce quality of life.
- Wrongful death – The loss of a loved one in a car accident means that the widow or surviving relatives can be compensated for funeral costs, medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, and more under Florida Statute 768.21.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are wondering, “who is liable in a car accident, the owner or driver?” – then you should get in contact with a car accident attorney now. It is imperative that you know where you stand in a legal case, and you know who to take action against.
At The Law Place, we have over seventy-five years of combined experience when it comes to guiding people through the legal system in the State of Florida. We understand the laws surrounding car accidents, and we will answer all of your questions and concerns.
Call our office to speak to a car accident lawyer now. Phone lines are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation today.