Car owners often loan their vehicles to friends or family members without thinking of who may be liable if that person gets into an accident. That is why it is important to know whether the person borrowing your car is a safe, responsible driver.
If someone borrowed your car and was in an accident in Maryland, we recommend speaking with a licensed attorney about your situation. The Silver Spring car accident attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can listen to the details of your claim in a free consultation. We charge you nothing up front and there is no obligation to have us represent your claim. We only get paid when you do. Below, our attorneys explain who could be liable for damages caused in a car accident if you let someone else borrow your vehicle.
Responsibility for Car Crash Damages
Generally, if you loaned your car out to a friend or family member and that person is involved in an accident, your insurance company would be primarily responsible for covering the damages. However, there are certain situations where this may not be the case.
Having permission to borrow the vehicle plays a critical role in determining liability for damages caused in a car crash. If permission was not granted, the car owner’s insurance company may not be liable for damages.
What is Negligent Entrustment?
If permission was granted to a person who has been known to be an irresponsible driver, it could be considered negligent entrustment. In other words, you were negligent by lending your car to this person as there may have been a greater risk of an accident. Some common examples of negligent entrustment could include:
- You were aware that the borrower had a suspended license
- You loaned your vehicle to someone who has a history of accidents and traffic violations
- The driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- The driver is under the legal driving age
How Does Insurance Coverage Work with a Borrowed Vehicle?
When someone else is injured in an accident with your vehicle, the primary coverage will be from your bodily injury liability insurance. If this is not enough to cover the damages, the driver’s liability coverage could kick in to cover the rest. For example, if the injured person suffered $70,000 in damages and your bodily injury coverage limit is $60,000, the driver’s liability coverage could cover the remaining $10,000. Minimum insurance requirements in Maryland are:
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death of a single person in a crash caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
- $60,000 for total bodily injury or death in a crash caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
- $15,000 for property damage per accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
Liability coverage helps pay for medical expenses and other damages sustained by passengers, other drivers and pedestrians.
What if my Car Insurance Refuses to Pay?
Car insurance companies are notorious for refusing to cover the full extent of damages, especially if someone else was driving your car. Insurers may try to use the following reasons to avoid paying for the damages:
- The driver took your car without permission
- The person who borrowed the vehicle was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The driver was specifically excluded from your insurance policy
If you are having trouble getting the insurance company to cover damages, we recommend contacting an experienced lawyer.
Reach Out to a Licensed Lawyer Today
If you gave permission to someone to borrow your vehicle, and that person was involved in an accident, having a licensed attorney on your side could be beneficial. Call us today to schedule a no-cost evaluation of your claim and you will not have to pay lawyer fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. There is no obligation to hire our firm, so there is no risk to you.