If you are borrowing someone else’s car when you are hit by someone, you may be confused about what you’re supposed to do. What happens if you’re not on the insurance policy? Where do you turn for coverage for your medical expenses and other damages?
Figuring out what to do if you’re hit while driving someone else’s car in Los Angeles can be difficult, but an experienced car accident lawyer can help. Here is what you need to know about this issue:
Can I Drive Someone Else’s Car?
You might be wondering, “Can you drive someone else’s car?” There’s nothing that explicitly prohibits you from driving someone else’s car with their permission. For example, you might borrow your friend or family member’s vehicle while yours is in the shop. Or, you might be doing a friend or parent a favor by driving them to an appointment.
A vehicle is a piece of property. As such, people have a right to lend their property to anyone they wish. Often, you do not have to be on the vehicle’s specific auto insurance policy to be covered for an accident.
Insurance Coverage for a Borrowed Vehicle
If you were hurt in an accident while borrowing someone else’s car, there may be various options for covering damages, including:
The Vehicle Owner’s Insurance
Insurance typically follows the vehicle. Therefore, the first option you have may be to turn to the vehicle owner’s insurance for coverage. For example, the vehicle owner may have collision and MedPay coverage that pays for vehicle damage and medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
However, this might not be an option if the insurance company has specifically excluded you from coverage or finds that you should have been on the policy but were not.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
All registered vehicle owners are required to maintain liability coverage that covers damages caused by their own negligence. Minimum amounts of liability coverage in California are:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in an accident
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death to more than one person in an accident
- $5,000 for property damage
These are just the minimum amounts, so the driver may have more insurance than this that you can turn to after an accident caused by their negligence.
Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Insurance
If the other driver is at fault for the accident but does not have adequate amounts of insurance, you may be able to turn to uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). This insurance is carried by the vehicle owner.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers accidents caused by a driver who has no insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage covers damages that exceed the amount of the at-fault party’s liability insurance.
Your Own Auto Insurance
Your own auto insurance may provide additional coverage. Typically, you should exhaust other options for coverage before turning to your own insurance.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help determine the various types of auto insurance that may be available to help pay for your damages.
Potential Compensation in a Los Angeles Car Accident
Depending on the insurance available and other factors, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages you suffered. Damages are the losses that you suffered in the accident, whether they are tied to an economic loss or not. Compensation may help pay for:
- Medical expenses, including emergency medical treatment and transport
- Lost income, including lost wages as well as long-term lost or reduced earning capacity
- Costs to repair or replace the vehicle, as well as any other damage to property in the vehicle (like a phone or laptop)
- Incidental expenses, such as travel to and from medical appointments
- Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress
An experienced car accident lawyer can discuss the possible compensation that might be available to you.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.