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Legal Review: You Got Hit While Driving Another Person’s Car — What Next?

Getting into an accident while driving someone else’s car can feel disastrous. Nobody wants to be in that awkward and uncomfortable situation, but it does happen. So what should you do aside from sinking in guilt and anxiety?

The concept of permissive use may be reviewed if such a situation occurs. This article will examine the permissive use rule in auto insurance and what it may mean for your situation.

What is Permissive Use in Auto Insurance?

Insurance advisor The Zebra defines permissive use as “the ability of other drivers — unlisted on your insurance policy — to drive your vehicle.” This refers to a situation where a driver who is not the vehicle owner is included and covered in a car insurance policy.

Permissive auto insurance allows a driver to use a vehicle even when they do not live with the owner or policyholder. The permissive user is granted infrequent vehicle use, often fewer than 12 times a year. While a family friend or neighbor would qualify under permissive use, an immediate family member living with the vehicle owner may be excluded and not afforded coverage.

Permissive Use in an Accident Involving Someone Else’s Car

If you get involved in an accident, no matter whose car you drive, call 911 to report the accident. You should also document the accident scene if possible. To determine if you fall under permissive use, you must first determine if the car’s owner included you in their auto insurance policy. If they did, you would automatically be covered by their insurance policy. As long as you have legal permission from the policyholder to use their car, you will have the same coverage as if it were the car owner involved in the accident. Unfortunately, if you are not included in the owner’s insurance policy and do not qualify as a permissive user, you will not be covered for liability insurance for the accident.

What Legal Options are Available?

So, after the accident, you have determined that you were included in the insurance policy of the original car owner. What legal options are available to you? Can you sue for the crash and the injuries that result from it?

“If you believe the driver who caused the accident acted negligently with no fault of your own, you could file a claim against them,” says attorney Joseph Kopfler of Kopfler & Hermann. You can file an insurance claim with their insurance company seeking compensation for damages. These damages may include:

  • Past and future medical bills and expenses
  • Past and future lost wages and benefits
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities
  • Mental anguish and emotional suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Decrease in quality of life

On the other hand, if you are partially at fault for the accident while driving a car that is not yours, car insurance still applies. In this case, the car owner’s insurance company would take liability for any damages you caused. Depending on the gravity of your actions, your compensation may be reduced to some extent.

Also, you may be able to sue the car’s owner for the accident. This is possible when an accident or injury is caused by the original owner failing to maintain their vehicle properly. This can especially apply if the owner was aware of a fault in the car and did not warn you.

Conclusion

We have looked at whether auto insurance will protect you or not in an accident when you are not the car owner. In the end, you will be covered if you fall under permissive use in the car-owners insurance. If you do not fall under their cover, you may not get any liability  insurance benefits.

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Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

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