A lot of people have friends and family members who do not own cars but still need to drive. Driving borrowed vehicles is quite common in Florida, as are road accidents. Sometimes the two inevitably happen together. Where do you stand if your car is in an accident, and you’re not driving it? Here’s what you need to know.
If Someone Else Drives Your Car and Gets in an Accident, Are You Responsible?
Yes, if you let someone borrow your car, you can be held legally liable. Of course, some borrowed-car liability situations are very straightforward and others are not. If you are an employer, and you loan your vehicle (either personal or company-owned) to an employee, you will be liable for any accidents or damage they cause. The same holds true for members of your family, especially teenage drivers. Additionally, you are liable if you knowingly lend your car to a driver who is impaired, incompetent or unlicensed.
Permission Is Important
However, if the someone took your car without permission and had an accident, they would be held liable for any damage. Be aware that permission to borrow is a very subtle thing. If someone borrows your car, but you say nothing, this can imply you gave permission and present problems during litigation.
Insurance And Legal Liability Are Different
When it comes to borrowing cars, many believe that “the insurance follows the car.” In many cases, the car owner’s insurance will cover any damage sustained by the borrower. The borrower’s coverage would then pick up anything the car owner’s insurance did not cover. However, a lot depends on how often the borrower uses the car and if they had permission, and legal liability is separate from insurance liability. From a legal standpoint, the owner of the car will almost always be held liable for damage caused by another person driving the car.