Who is liable in a car accident when the driver is not the owner?
If you lend a car to someone else and they get in an accident, who is liable? Most people would think the driver is liable. However the actual answer is the owner of the vehicle. The driver of the car would have secondary insurance on the policy if they had their own insurance, but the lawsuit would be done through the owner of the car with primary insurance. With that being said, if you lend your car to someone, make sure that they are a responsible driver or you could be on the hook for their accident.
Does car insurance follow the driver or the car?
In the US, unlike some other countries, car insurance follows the car and not driver. This means that if you are driving someone else’s car, you are covered by their insurance first. If their insurance cannot cover the losses then, depending on the policy, you may be able to use your insurance as a secondary policy. In families, generally everyone in the same household is covered but when you are getting insurance, if this is something you are concerned about, then you should talk to the insurance agent about this issue.
Can the owner then sue the driver?
If the owner was not present in the car when the accident occurred, and the owner is held responsible, the owner can go back and sue the driver of the car. This type of action would be done in civil court and it would likely be either an action in small claims court or a bigger action with attorneys present if there were large injuries. Car crash lawsuits can be very complicated but if someone has clear liability then they become a lot easier.
Do you have to make an insurance claim as the owner if someone else crashed your car?
If you are the owner of a vehicle that someone else crashed, it is probably a good idea to make a claim to your insurance company. The reason for this is because you want your insurance company to know that you were not the driver and you want that to be documented. Sometimes these types of accidents happen and they are hit and run accidents. In that type of situation you would want a written record of the call just in case there is an investigation done at a later time to find out who the drive of the vehicle was.