Getting Into a Car Accident in a Friend’s Car: Who Is Liable? The Car Owner or the Driver?

| July 5, 2023
Getting Into a Car Accident in a Friend’s Car: Who Is Liable? The Car Owner or the Driver? Some car accidents require professional investigations to determine how the accident occurred and who bears liability for the accident. Moreover, in some situations, you can hold a car owner responsible for a car crash in addition to the driver under the theory of vicarious liability or negligent entrustment. Under vicarious liability laws, you can hold a vehicle owner responsible for the negligent actions or inactions of another person who drives their car, assuming they had the owner's permission. In that situation, the owner's insurance coverage may provide the necessary coverage. Similarly, you can hold a vehicle owner liable for negligent entrustment if they willingly let someone else drive their car who has a subpar driving record, such as someone who has incurred a previous DUI conviction or has a suspended driver’s license. If someone drives another person’s vehicle without the owner's permission, then the negligent driver's insurance policy may serve as the primary coverage, with the car owner's policy serving as secondary coverage. If you suffered injuries in an accident that another driver caused, you should seek out the legal help that you need in your case right away. Accident victims only have five years to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties in their case. If they fail to name a responsible party or file a lawsuit within that time frame, they will not be eligible to recover monetary damages for their accident-related injuries. Therefore, accident victims must undertake the appropriate legal actions as soon as possible in their case so as not to jeopardize their right to monetary recovery. A knowledgeable car accident attorney in your area can investigate your accident and ascertain the identity of all potentially responsible parties in your case. Your lawyer can then promptly file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against those parties and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve from their insurers. Your lawyer can also assist you during each stage of the settlement negotiation and litigation process. Your lawyer will try to recover the highest amount of monetary recovery available to you in your case. [lwptoc skipHeadingLevel="h1,h3,h4,h5,h6"]

Why do Auto Accidents Usually Happen?

Car Accident in a Friend's Car: Who Is LiableAuto accidents usually occur because of driver error or negligence. They may also occur when vehicle owners entrust their vehicles to a driver with a poor driving record or a history of moving violations. Of the most common causes of vehicle accidents is the failure to follow standard traffic laws, including right-of-way laws, posted speed limits, and turn signal laws. Accidents may also happen when drivers fail to utilize safety devices in their vehicles, such as rear-view mirrors, side-view mirrors, and backup cameras. Drivers have a duty to utilize these devices while on the road – and while pulling out of parking spaces in parking garages and lots. Auto accidents may also occur when drivers fail to watch the road attentively and drive distracted. A distracted driver does not give sufficient time and attention to the road. Instead of watching the road, distracted drivers might adjust their music, program a GPS navigation system, or send/receive a text message. Alternatively, paying attention to others in their vehicles, such as rowdy children, may distract drivers. When drivers fail to watch the road attentively or turn their head to the side, they may not notice an oncoming vehicle or an approaching pedestrian. As a result, they may bring about a serious accident. In addition, some auto accidents happen when people drive in an overly aggressive or zealous manner. This behavior is typically called road rage. Road rage occurs when a driver tailgates another vehicle, cuts another vehicle off in traffic, or weaves in and around other vehicles in busy highway traffic. When a driver exhibits these aggressive driving maneuvers, they may negligently and inadvertently cause a serious traffic accident or series of collisions. Finally, some car crashes happen when drivers come under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Passenger vehicle drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 percent or higher are legally intoxicated. However, when the driver is under 21 or a commercial vehicle driver, they must follow stricter laws. Intoxicated driving is extremely dangerous because alcohol is a depressant that slows down the central nervous system's ability to function properly. Intoxicated drivers may experience blurred vision, dizziness, and other physical symptoms that prevent them from seeing other vehicles and pedestrians in time to avoid an accident. Likewise, alcohol intoxication may decrease concentration, erode reflexes, and delay reaction time. As a result, the driver may not react quickly and appropriately to an emergency, causing a serious accident. When people drive carelessly or recklessly, they are more likely to cause an auto accident. The type of accident that results will usually depend upon the location, the positions of the vehicles, and other environmental circumstances. Some of the most common accidents that negligent drivers cause include:
  • Head-on collisions, where the fronts of two vehicles that are traveling in opposite directions strike one another
  • Rear-end accidents, where one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle, usually because the rear vehicle is speeding
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles hit one another while traveling in the same direction
  • Broadside or T-bone accidents, where one vehicle hits the side panel of another vehicle
If you sustained injuries in one of these accidents that a negligent driver caused, talk to a knowledgeable car accident attorney in your area immediately. Your lawyer can investigate your accident and identify all potentially responsible parties, including the at-fault driver or vehicle owner. Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance companies and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve for all your accident-related losses.

Frequent Auto Accident Injuries

There is no disputing that forceful auto accidents can bring about debilitating injuries that may be permanent or fatal. A car crash victim's injuries may require intense medical treatment, including medical procedures, physical therapy, and doctor appointments. In addition, accident victims may have extensive pain and suffering for the rest of their life due to their accident-related injuries. An accident victim's injuries will depend largely on how the accident happened, the type of accident, and how their body moved in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Common auto accident injuries include: One of the most important steps you can take following a car crash is to seek the medical care you need immediately. Your lawyer can begin gathering the necessary documentation to prove your case, including copies of your medical records, police reports, lost income statements, and injury photographs. That way, you can focus all of your attention on completing your medical treatment regimen. Seeking ongoing medical treatment after your accident helps ensure that you fully recover from your injuries and increases your chances of recovering a favorable monetary award in your case through settlement or litigation.

Proving Fault and Damages in a Car Accident Case

As the injured accident victim in an auto accident case, you have the legal burden of proving fault and damages. If you can successfully satisfy your legal burden of proof, you can recover monetary damages from the at-fault owner's or the at-fault driver's insurance company. First, an injured accident victim must establish a legal duty of care on the part of the vehicle driver and owner. First of all, drivers have a duty to be careful, safe, and prudent at all times. As part of this duty of care, drivers must obey all traffic laws and regulations while driving and refrain from intoxicated or distracted driving. In addition, vehicle owners have a duty to entrust their vehicles only to safe, capable drivers. Next, the accident victim must establish that the at-fault party violated their legal duty of care. For example, a driver might have violated one or more traffic laws or drove in an overly aggressive or distracted manner. Similarly, a vehicle owner might have entrusted their vehicle to a driver with a known track record of moving violations or DUIs. Sometimes, vehicle owners bear vicarious responsibility for the negligent actions and inactions of someone who drives their car with permission. Next, the accident victim must legally establish that as a direct result of the responsible party's negligent behavior, the accident occurred, along with the victim's personal injuries. A personal injury attorney typically needs to retain a medical expert to testify in the case to demonstrate the causal relationship between a car accident and the accident victim's claimed injuries. A medical expert can physically examine the accident victim and draft a report supporting the causal relationship between the accident victim's injuries and the car crash. Additionally, a medical expert can demonstrate that the claimed injury or injuries are permanent and unlikely to improve over time. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you satisfy your legal burden of proof and recover monetary compensation from the appropriate insurance company.

What Is a Favorable Monetary Damage Award in a Car Accident Claim?

Auto accident victims may need extensive medical treatment for their injuries. In addition, their injuries may be so severe that they cannot go to work and earn money for themselves and their families. Bills can pile up quickly, and accident victims may not know where to turn. Fortunately, an injured car accident victim can recover monetary compensation for their accident-related injuries and other losses. First, they can seek compensation for their past and anticipated medical costs. If they miss work time, they can receive compensation for lost earnings – or loss of earning capacity if they had to switch jobs and take a pay cut. In addition to these economic damages, auto accident victims may recover their intangible losses from an at-fault owner or driver's insurance company. Those losses may include compensation for: Your attorney can help you set realistic expectations for your case and determine which monetary damages you can pursue as part of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then file the appropriate insurance claim(s) – or, if necessary, threaten the insurance company with litigation – if they refuse to compensate you fairly for your injuries. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the overall monetary award you receive in your case. Insurance companies will do the opposite, as they want to pay as little as possible. You always want to hire a legal advocate who will fight for the damages you need and deserve from insurers.

Talk with a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer Today

In many auto accident cases, you need a professional investigation to identify all liable parties. Therefore, involve a skilled car accident lawyer in your case right away. Your lawyer can investigate to identify all potentially responsible parties for your car accident, including the vehicle owner or driver. Your attorney can then file the appropriate claim or lawsuit and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance company representatives or file a lawsuit in the court system for favorable monetary recovery. If your case goes to litigation, your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings, including your discovery deposition or jury trial, and work to recover fair monetary damages on your behalf. Start the process today by seeking a free case evaluation with experienced personal injury attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

You Might Also Be Interested In