What to Do if in a Car Accident While Driving Someone Else's Car

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

It's bad enough to have an accident while driving your own vehicle in Clarksburg. But what happens if you're in a car accident when driving someone else's car? It's important to know what to do in such a case and to understand how this may affect both you and the car's owner.

Steps to Take after a Car Accident in Someone Else's Car

Most of what you should do is the same after any car accident. Check to see if any occupants – in your vehicle and other vehicles involved – need immediate medical attention. Contact the police so they can file an accident report.

You will also need to exchange contact and insurance information. Since you don't own the vehicle, it's important to provide insurance information for it. That's because insurance covers the vehicle and drivers listed on the policy. If you're not on it, the owner may be liable for some (or all) of the damages, depending on the circumstances.

Contact your insurance company to let them know you had an accident with a vehicle you don't own. Of course, you also need to let the owner know, who will need to contact his/her insurer.

How Insurance Affects Damages in an Accident with a Vehicle You Don't Own

In general this depends on the insurance company and the type of plan. But it also depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

An important factor to consider is who was at fault. If you were at fault and it was a minor collision, the owner's insurer will likely pay for damages. But if it was a serious accident that caused significant physical harm to others, it's possible the owner's liability coverage isn't enough. That could mean your insurance company would have to cover the rest.

But it's also possible the owner's insurance company won't cover any damages for bodily injury because you, as the driver, weren’t listed on the policy. Meanwhile, if you were at fault and don't have insurance, the owner would likely be liable for damages. An insurance agent can explain the terms of the plan and how it may affect coverage.

Another important issue to consider is if you had permission to drive the vehicle. If you took it without the owner's consent, your insurance may have to cover damages. The owner's coverage may only kick in once reaching the limits of your policy.

Not owning the vehicle won't matter in an accident if someone else was at fault. In West Virginia, the insurer of the driver that caused the accident must pay damages up to policy limits. If it's clear the other driver's negligence led to the accident, you won't have to worry about using your insurance coverage or the owner's to pay for damages.

But if there is a dispute with who is at fault and the other driver argues that you are partly responsible, then insurance coverage – yours and the vehicle owner – will be a factor. Again, this depends on the circumstances and the type of insurance coverage. Your lawyer can also work to prove you are not at fault for the accident and the other driver's insurer should pay for damages.

Get Legal Advice if Involved in a Car Accident Driving Someone Else's Car

Liability can be confusing when someone borrows a vehicle and gets into an accident. It becomes an especially significant factor when it's a serious collision. To better understand options available, the impact of insurance and other relevant matters, contact an attorney right away. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg to set up a consultation: 304-931-4088.