Car Accident In A Borrowed Car – Who Is Responsible?
Car accidents disputes are common in the personal injury context — but they are not always straightforward. The unique circumstances of each case may change the way in which the case has to be litigated.
Consider accidents involving a borrowed car. If the defendant-driver was using a borrowed car at the time of the accident, then you, the injured plaintiff, may have some alternative options for suing and recovering damages. This can actually be an advantage.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we encourage you to get in touch with a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible. Call us today to get connected to an attorney within just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free, so we encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible!
Suing The Driver
As the plaintiff, you may be entitled to sue and hold liable the driver whose negligence (or intentional misconduct) caused the accident. This is likely the primary defendant in your car accident dispute — even if they borrowed the vehicle from someone else. For the purpose of suing the driver for their misconduct, it is irrelevant whether they borrowed the vehicle from someone else.
Suing The Vehicle Owner
Now, in some cases, the car that the defendant-driver is using is owned by a different person, who either did or didn’t give them permission to use the vehicle. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a right to sue the vehicle owner — they could be at least partially at-fault for your injuries.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident. You discover that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. You investigate the case further and discover that the driver was an alcoholic, and that the vehicle owner knew that the driver was an alcoholic. Despite that, the vehicle owner let the driver borrow their car. These facts would give rise to an actionable claim against both the driver and the vehicle owner.
This is known as negligent entrustment.
Negligent entrustment is a legal principle in which a vehicle owner can be held liable if they lend their vehicle to someone who they know — or should know — is unqualified to operate the vehicle, or is unreasonably likely to cause an accident. This may include intoxication, or a driver who does not currently have a valid license. It may even include lending to a driver who has a long track record of car accidents.
Aside from negligent entrustment, there may be other ways in which you can impose liability on a vehicle owner: negligent maintenance of the vehicle, for example. If a vehicle owner has failed to properly maintain their vehicle, and it is in a state of disrepair, then they could be held liable for an accident caused due to a vehicular malfunction on the roadways — even if the accident occurs while the car is being operated by someone else.
Suing the vehicle owner can provide a significant advantage in situations where the driver does not have substantial insurance coverage. If the vehicle owner has a greater amount of insurance coverage, then you can secure damages from them (to help cover your losses to some degree).
Other Liability Issues
What happens if the vehicle owner’s car was stolen, or used without permission? You may have limited options to sue them. If the vehicle owner did not actually give the driver permission to use their car, then they cannot be held liable for the incompetence or misconduct of the driver.
In those situations — if the driver has minimal insurance coverage — you may want to explore alternative legal strategies. The vehicle itself may have some defect that contributed to the accident, for example, allowing you to bring a claim against the manufacturer. Alternatively, there may have been other drivers involved in the accident (i.e., a multi-car pileup). These may present litigation opportunities.
Given the complexity of a car accident dispute, and how it may dynamically take different shapes over time, it’s important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney for guidance on how to proceed.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer For A Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a car accident — whether or not the driver was borrowing someone else’s vehicle — then you may be entitled to damages under the law. These claims can lead to significant payouts, but may be complicated by various factors.
We’re here to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
At 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a network of experienced car accident lawyers who are standing by to provide a free consultation. Our agents will connect you to an attorney who will guide you through the litigation process after evaluating your case.
Don’t delay. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected today.