What Happens if Someone Else Drives My Car and Gets in an Accident in Pennsylvania?
It’s common for people to lend their cars to their kids, spouses, or trusted friends. But what happens if an accident takes place? What if someone else gets into a car crash while driving your vehicle in Pennsylvania?
If someone borrowed your car and got into an accident, our attorneys can help you figure out your next steps. If the person driving your car was the victim and is a member of your household, they can file a claim with your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to recover damages. If their injuries are severe enough, they could also sue the negligent driver who caused their injuries for non-economic damages. These types of cases can be complicated, especially considering the fact that the owner of one vehicle was not involved in the accident. We can help car owners and victims recover compensation for property damage and physical injuries.
For a free and confidential assessment of your case from the Chester County car accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm, call us now at (215) 709-6940.
What if Someone Else Drives My Car and Gets into an Accident in Pennsylvania?
If another person gets in an accident while driving your car, the aftermath can be complicated. Our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers can review the specifics of the case in question to determine fault and financial liability.
First of all, because Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state for auto accidents, the victim’s personal injury protection insurance should cover their damages. So, if someone else was driving your car and hit another driver, the victim’s PIP coverage may be enough to compensate them for medical expenses and other damages. Similarly, if someone in your household, like your child, was driving your car and was hit by another driver, your PIP coverage would apply to the victim’s damages.
Furthermore, victims with limited tort insurance coverage can only sue for non-economic damages if their injuries meet the standard defined in 75 Pa.C.S. § 1702. This means that if someone else was driving your car and struck another driver, that driver could only sue for pain and suffering if their injuries were severe enough. This goes both ways, meaning the driver operating your car could only sue a negligent driver if their injuries were severe enough as well.
Because your car was involved in the accident, you are tangentially involved. Because of this, it is important only to loan your car to trusted individuals included on your insurance in Pennsylvania.
What to Do After Someone Else Gets in an Accident While Driving My Car in Pennsylvania
If you loaned your car to a spouse, child, or someone else in your household, and they were injured in an accident, there are several things you and the victim should do.
Begin by reporting the accident to the police. According to 75 Pa.C.S. § 3746(a), any auto accident that causes injury or death must be reported to law enforcement in Pennsylvania. If you were informed of the accident involving your car after the fact and the victim did not call the police, we can help them do so in the days that follow the accident. If the person driving your car was the victim, urge them to get medical attention. If they need to file a lawsuit against the negligent party for compensation, it will be important for them to have medical documentation of their injuries. You should also report the accident to your insurance company immediately.
Then, it will be time to sort out the more complicated matters regarding the accident. In the event that the person driving your car was the victim, we can determine which insurance coverage and limits apply to the case. If they are a covered person under your household’s personal injury protection insurance policy, this can be a relatively simple process. If your car was stolen or used without your permission and was damaged in an accident, you might be able to sue for property damage in Pennsylvania.
Am I Liable if Someone Else Gets in an Accident While Driving My Car in Pennsylvania?
Whether or not your insurance could be liable for damages for an accident involving your vehicle depends on the specific facts of the case and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Any time you lend your car to another person, you run the risk of being dragged into any accidents or injuries they cause. Car insurance typically follows the vehicle, even in choice no-fault states like Pennsylvania. If your vehicle was stolen or used without your permission, you might be able to avoid liability for damages caused by an accident involving your car.
While many drivers opt for limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania, some choose to purchase full tort insurance, giving them the option to sue for non-economic damages, regardless of the extent of their injuries. Furthermore, depending on the policy limits of a driver’s PIP coverage, they might require additional compensation via a lawsuit. If your car was involved in the accident, that could make you liable for those damages.
These issues can be complicated to sort out because of the numerous parties involved and the problems that arise when an at-fault driver or victim is not the owner of a vehicle. If your car was stolen, report it was such immediately to avoid any issues with a possible accident in the future. Furthermore, be intentional about which members of your household you include and exclude from your car insurance policy. Do not lend your vehicle to anyone untrustworthy or likely to get into an accident.
Call Our Pennsylvania Lawyers to Discuss Your Auto Accident Case
The Reiff Law Firm’s Philadelphia car accident lawyers can review your case for free when you call us at (215) 709-6940.