Who is liable for damages in a car accident when someone else was driving your car?

We get this question a lot. You lend your car to a friend or your roommate borrowed your car without permission and they crashed your vehicle and perhaps even injured another person in the process. “Who is liable for damages when someone else was driving my car?”

If someone else is driving your car and is involved in a motor vehicle accident, your car insurance will pay for the damages. Car insurance is generally with the car and not the driver. Regardless of who was driving your vehicle, your car insurance policy is considered the primary policy.

Of course there are exceptions to this and scenarios that involve claims that exceed the coverage amount.

One case that recently settled was Roberts V. Deane in California. (Citation: Roberts v. Deane, No. 2:10-cv-06354 (C.D. Cal. July 8, 2011).) In this case, Nicole Deane was driving a car owned by her friend Sandy Robert’s father and Sandy was a passenger in the vehicle. While driving, Deane attempted to pass a slower moving vehicle in a no-passing zone and she ended up in a head-on collision with a pickup truck. Tragically, Sandy Roberts was killed in the car accident and a couple of passengers in the pickup truck suffered serious injuries.

Manuel Mosqueda, 55, a pickup truck passenger, suffered multiple blunt-force trauma injuries, a head injury, fractures to his ribs and back injuries. His medical expenses were over 100,000 and he has future medical expenses which may run up to 100,000. He also experienced loss of present and future earnings of around 250,000
Another passenger in the pickup truck, Karla Reyes, 30, suffered a “hangman’s fracture” which is a hyperextension injury that can occur when the face or chin strike an object. This is a common injury when a person who is involved in a motor vehicle accident strikes the windshield or the dashboard. Reyes suffered blunt force injuries to her abdomen, spine, chest and thorax and now lives with severe neck pain. Her breast was also disfigured in the accident. Her medical expenses were calculated at 64,200 with future medical expenses estimated at $150,000.

After the accident Reyes and Mosqueda filed a negligence lawsuit asking for compensation for their damages.

Robert’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their son’s estate. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of a deceased loved one when another person’s or entities negligence caused the death of a loved one.

All parties to the lawsuit settled before it went to trial. In this case, Deane had a $2.6 million insurance policy limit and her insurance paid $2.2 million to the Roberts plaintiffs and $400,000 to Reyes and Mosqueda. The Roberts also recovered $600,000 from their own underinsured motorist policy. Additional proceeds from the Roberts policy included a payment of $100,000 to the Roberts, $100,000 between Mosqueda and Reyes, and $100,000 to three occupants of the pickup truck who did not file claims.

This case is an example of when you should hire an attorney because of the complexities of the claim, the multiple claimants and two auto insurance policies.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of another. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

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Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Bellevue to assist you.