Am I Liable for Damages if I Let Someone Else Drive My Car?

by Gena
(Frederick. MD)

My son's friend said she had insurance so I let her drive my car. She ended up hitting a police car and totaled my car. She in fact did not have insurance when this happened.

Would I be liable for the damage she caused? Is the owner of a car always liable if someone else gets in an accident while driving it? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Am I Liable for Damages if I Let Someone Else Drive My Car?":

Gena (Frederick, MD):

Regrettably, you can be held liable for the damages caused by your son’s friend, even if she failed to tell you the truth about having insurance.

If you choose not to submit the claim to your insurance company your recourse may be to “Subrogate” against the driver.

Subrogation is something insurance companies do all the time.

For example, when an insurance company’s client, called their “insured”, becomes the victim of a collision, and the at-fault driver had either no insurance or not enough to pay for all of the medical bills (or other expenses resulting from the collision), the insurance company seeks out the at-fault driver to reimburse them for the money they had to pay.

Because you gave the woman consent to drive your vehicle, and her negligence resulted in a collision, her negligence, regrettably, is imputed to you.

Your case is different because in a sense, you have become the insurance company, being responsible for the damages caused by the driver’s negligence.

You have at least two options:

First: If you decide not to turn the matter over to your insurance company and pay for the damages to the police car out of your pocket, you can act like an insurance company and subrogate against the driver

Second: You can do nothing and let your insurance company pay for the damages, writing off the entire affair as a bad experience.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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