It’s important to know whether or not you are covered under your automotive insurance policy if another person wrecks your car while driving. However; what about liability? Can you be sued if someone else was driving your vehicle and caused and accident that resulted in another person’s injury or death? Knowing the difference between liability and accountability in a driver-vehicle owner accident case can protect you from making a mistake down the road. Let’s take a closer look at this subject and discuss the various aspects of driver-car owner liability and the law.
Motor Vehicle Accident Liability
Sadly, there are thousands of motor vehicle accidents on the road every day. At the scenes of these car collisions, the principle intention of law enforcement and insurers is to determine who is at fault. In order to configure liability and compensation, everyone is eager to know who caused the accident and which party is ultimately responsible for the damages. In most cases, the person who acted negligently, and whose reckless driving caused them to wreck, veer, or collide with other vehicles, is the accountable and liable party. This is standard procedure and general knowledge in regards to car accidents and collisions, including pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents. If you are driving and cause an accident, it is lawful for you to be held accountable for the damages to all involved vehicles and parties.
But What If YOU Weren’t Driving Your Car?
What if you lent your vehicle to a friend or relative and THEY caused a serious accident on the road? Who is liable for the accident? You as the car owner? Or your friend that was driving?
These are a lot of questions, but that’s the reality when it comes to driver-vehicle owner liability. There are many laws and obligations drivers and car owners are unaware of, which can cost them down the road if they never ask these important questions. It is a fact that you CAN be held liable under certain circumstances in the case that someone else is driving your vehicle and wrecks it, even if you are not in the car at all and they are legally licensed to drive.
This idea is supported under the Vicarious Liability law; a secondary liability doctrine explaining that an owner of a vehicle that has chosen to loan their vehicle to another person, who then commits negligence, is vicariously liable for the damages. This can also be referred to as principle’s liability or imputed negligence. The owner of a vehicle is the chief principle, while anyone who drives it for them is their “agent”, making them the “principle” party and responsible for all damages caused by any person driving their vehicle. Learn more about this topic in our article, “What is Vicarious Liability?”
If a parent entrusts their minor to driver their vehicle, and an accident occurs, the parent or person who signed the minor’s driving application, is held responsible for the damages. The term “negligent entrustment” refers to a situation in which a parent or guardian allows their minor to drive their vehicle, even though they have full knowledge that the minor is reckless, inexperienced, or unlicensed to drive.
The Family Purpose Doctrine holds the owner of the vehicle, usually the parent or guardian, accountable for any damages caused by another driving their vehicle, with or without permission. This doctrine varies state to state, but uses the underlying principle of vicarious liability. The same principles applies to employer-employee relationships and scenarios. It is important to know where you are protected when it comes to liability and the law. When a person is held liable, an opposing party can sue them for compensation, for an accident they didn’t even cause.
Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers
It can certainly be difficult comprehending the law and all areas of law can be confusing. This is why it is highly recommended to contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer for answers to your legal questions. A licensed personal injury lawyer is the professional that can clearly define and explain vicarious liability, motor vehicle accidents and liability, compensation for damages, and more.Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to speak with a licensed car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. We never collect attorney fees unless we obtain compensation for you, and we also offer free initial consultations. Get started on your physical, emotional, and financial recovery today!