Car accident cases are often resolved by figuring out which insurance company will pay for the injuries and damages that are caused in the accident. While most car accidents involve drivers who either own or are authorized drivers of the vehicles involved, sometimes an accident involves a driver using a vehicle lent to him or her by a friend or extended family member. When the driver of the loaned vehicle is responsible for the crash, it raises the question of whether the owner of the vehicle can have liability for the accident as well.
Figuring Out Which Insurance Company Pays
If both the driver and the owner of the vehicle have auto insurance policies, there may be a dispute over whether the driver’s policy or the vehicle’s owner’s policy will pay for injuries or damages caused in the accident. Whether either or both insurance companies will accept coverage for a loss will depend on the terms under each policy. Some insurance policies have broad coverage terms that follow a driver when he or she drives a rented or loaned vehicle. If the driver’s insurance policy (if he or she has one) will not cover his or her use of a loaned vehicle, then injured or damaged parties will need to turn to the insurance of the vehicle’s owner.
Read more: Car Insurance FAQ
Whether The Owner’s Insurance Policy Will Cover
In some cases, the owner’s insurance policy will not cover an accident caused by someone the owner lent his or her car to. In other cases, the policy may offer limited coverage when someone other than a named driver operates an insured vehicle. This is why it is critical for vehicle owners to read the terms of their insurance policy to understand what coverage, if any, is available if they lend their vehicle to a family member or friend not specifically named in the policy who then causes an accident with that vehicle.
If a person lends his or her vehicle to a friend who then causes a car accident, other people who suffer injury or property damage in the accident may be able to pursue a legal claim of negligent entrustment against the owner of the vehicle, which can open him or her to liability regardless of whether his or her auto insurance will provide coverage for the accident.
What to Do If Your Friend’s Insurance Refuses Coverage
If the insurance company for your friend’s vehicle declines coverage, it is critical for both you and your friend to retain legal representation, especially if you and your friend face legal liability without the benefit of having insurance coverage to pay for any damages. It can also be helpful to secure any evidence arising from the accident, including police accident reports, accident scene photos, vehicle damage reports, or surveillance or dashcam footage, since this evidence may be useful to prove that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident.
You may also want to consider hiring an attorney experienced in insurance law if you believe that the insurance company is wrongfully denying coverage that should be available under the terms of the policy. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a bad faith insurance claim that you can bring for a wrongful denial of coverage; you may also be able to settle a case brought by someone who suffered injuries or damages in the accident by assigning any rights you have in a bad faith insurance claim to the injured party.
Contact a Haddonfield Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Andres & Berger P.C. represent clients injured because of car accidents in Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Winslow, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 795-1444 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 264 Kings Hwy. E. Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.