Can I sue the owner of a vehicle when the driver who hit me borrowed the car?

It is distressing enough for a motorist to be injured in a crash caused by another driver. If a victim then discovers that the driver who caused the accident was borrowing the vehicle from someone else, he could be worried that no one would be responsible for the medical bills and lost wages he may incur. Fortunately, an injured victim could be entitled to compensation from more than one party.

The Responsible Parties When Someone Lends Out His Vehicle

People often let friends or family borrow their vehicles. If that friend or family member causes an accident, the owner of the vehicle is not off the hook. In these situations, the injured motorist may be able to seek compensation from the following parties:

  • Driver of the vehicle. The driver who caused the crash by his negligence could be responsible for the injured victim’s damages.
  • Owner of the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle could be liable for the injured victim’s damages even if he was not driving or was not a passenger at the time of the crash. If he lent the vehicle, he might be responsible for the driver’s negligence through what is caused vicarious liability, which makes him responsible because he gave the person permission to use his vehicle.
  • Insurance company of the owner of the vehicle. If the owner gave the driver permission to use his vehicle, the owner’s insurance company could face responsibility if the driver caused an accident.

If the driver lived with the owner of the vehicle or was a regular driver of the vehicle, it may not be as clear whether the insurance company faces liability. In these situations, the owner of the vehicle may have needed to list the person on his insurance policy. If he did not do this, it is not certain that the insurance company would be responsible for paying an injured victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the owner of the vehicle and the driver could still be responsible for paying damages to the injured victim.

If you or a family member was involved in an automobile accident where the other driver was at fault, order our free book, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case, to start learning about how we can help you.

Peter Steinberg, Esq.
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982