It’s common for someone to lend their car to someone else, but if they get involved in a car accident, it can be confusing who’s at fault. Some may believe the driver is responsible, while some believe it’s the owner’s fault for trusting the driver to keep their car safe. However, to truly determine who is responsible, you must identify who caused the accident, as well as if you gave the driver permission to operate the vehicle.

Giving the Driver Permission

If you own a car and permit someone else to drive it, you will generally be liable for any damages they cause. If the owner did not give permission to the driver, such as in cases where the driver steals the car, then the owner is not responsible for any damages.

What Happens If the Person Driving the Car Is at Fault?

Georgia is known as an “at-fault” state, meaning whoever is responsible for the accident is liable for the damages to property and injuries to other drivers. If the driver borrows a car and is at fault for the accident, the injured driver can file a claim against the vehicle owner’s insurance company. If you have insurance and weren’t in the accident at all, your insurance will typically cover the damages under two conditions:

  • The driver is listed on your car insurance policy.
  • You gave the driver permission to operate your vehicle.

The driver’s own insurance may act as secondary insurance depending on the situation. For example, if you cannot cover the damages alone, the driver may be required to pay with their insurance.

What Happens If the Driver Is Not at Fault?

If the driver of your car is not at fault for an accident, the other driver will be responsible for the damages. In this case, you then have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you can prove you were less than half responsible for the accident, you’ll be able to file a claim and receive compensation.

When Will the Insurance Company Refuse to Cover My Car?

There are specific cases where your insurance company will refuse to cover you for an accident. Even if the driver wasn’t at fault, you may not receive any compensation or assistance from your insurance company.

For example, if the driver was using your car without your permission, they may be liable for the damages and injuries caused. It can be difficult to prove that you didn’t give the driver permission, which is why you should speak with a lawyer prior to filing a claim.

Another way insurance companies will refuse to cover you is if you didn’t include the driver in your insurance policy. If you know the driver is risky and could increase your rates, you can intentionally leave them off. However, if they get into an accident, with or without driving permission, your insurance policy may prevent you from receiving coverage.

Finally, if the driver was breaking the law, your insurance company will not provide any coverage. If the driver didn’t have a license or was drinking, your insurance company won’t want to get involved or provide coverage due to the potential legal ramifications.

Receive Legal Counsel Today

It can be challenging to determine who is at fault for a car accident between an owner and driver, but there are ways to tell under certain circumstances. These circumstances can be difficult to prove, which is why you should speak with legal representation after any car accident.

At Lamar Law Office, LLC, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ll examine your case and use our knowledge of Georgia car laws to help you navigate your situation. Contact us today to learn more.