How does insurance work if my friend crashed my car while he was drunk?

by Robert

We were both at my friend's house and got drunk. I went out to my car to be alone and go to sleep, which is my usual thing. I have never gotten drunk with these people before. I nodded off in my car. I vaguely remember moving to the passenger side when my friend showed up at the driver side.

Next thing I remember is coming to as he drove over a curb in a roundabout. My airbags on the drivers side deployed and there is extensive damage to my wheels and hubs. I took the wheel and drove the car to the nearest parking lot and sleep it off.

My question is, how is this handled if I need to file a claim with my insurance? Would it be covered? Would my friend get in trouble? I spoke to some cops in the morning who just looked at our IDs and pretty much said don't have too much fun next time. I then got my vehicle towed via my insurance.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How does insurance work if my friend crashed my car while he was drunk?":

Robert (Idaho):

The first person to look to for compensation is your friend and his insurance company. From the facts you present, he drove your car without your permission. While driving your car, he crashed it. As a direct result, your friend, via his insurance company, should be liable for the repairs to your car.

You should concurrently contact your own insurance company. Most car insurance policies require the insured to report all accidents, whether the accident was caused by the insured or a third party.

In the event the driver was not insured at the time of the crash, you can seek compensation from your insurance company. To do so, you would have to have in place comprehensive insurance.

Once you file a claim and your insurance company pays it, your insurance company will then "subrogate" against the driver. To subrogate means to pursue the other driver for the amount of compensation your insurance company pays to repair your car.

While lying to your insurance company would be entirely inappropriate, there is no reason for you to volunteer the information that you were drunk at the time of the collision. As long as you weren't driving, your intoxicated state should be reasonably unimportant to the claim.

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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