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Can I Sue After an Indiana Crash if the At-Fault Driver Borrowed the Car?


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jul 15, 2020 in Car Accidents

giving keys to carWhat happens if you get into a car crash only to find out the at-fault driver was operating a borrowed car? Who do you pursue to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages?

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak explain how you may be able to pursue damages after an accident involving a driver in a borrowed car.

Our firm can answer your legal questions after a car accident. To learn more, contact our office anytime, day or night. We have representatives available 24/7 who can set you up with a completely free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

Is the Car Owner Liable for Your Injuries?

In an accident caused by a negligent motorist who was driving someone else’s vehicle, drivers may be confused about who may be liable for the damages. Since the car’s owner was not driving at the time of the accident, he or she is not personally responsible for the damages you suffered. However, since insurance follows the car, not the driver, the car owner’s insurance policy will still be the primary coverage for the damages you sustained in the crash.

If the car owner did not carry more than the minimum-required coverage, then you will likely need to pursue additional damages through a secondary insurance. In this scenario, secondary coverage would be provided by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.

As you can see, these types of claims can quickly become complicated, which is why we recommend hiring one of our South Bend car accident lawyers to fully manage your claim. If we find you have a valid case, we will fight to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf and make sure that your legal rights are protected.

What Happens If The Car Was Borrowed Without Permission?

If the driver who caused the crash used the car without permission, then the owner’s insurance company will likely deny the claim. Additionally, if a car was stolen, or even borrowed, without the owner’s knowledge or permission, then, the owner would likely not be responsible for the damages.

In this scenario, you may have options for pursuing compensation through other means, such as through your own uninsured/underinsured policy (UM/UIM) or through personal injury protection (PIP) benefits.

UM/UIM coverage is required in Indiana – unless you opt to reject it in writing when you purchase or renew your insurance policy. When purchased, you must obtain minimum coverage limits of $50,000.

PIP Coverage, though not required in Indiana, may benefit you by providing additional medical coverage if you are in an accident involving an at-fault driver who is underinsured or uninsured.

You may opt out of purchasing both of these coverages in Indiana. However, they are worth looking into as they provide considerable protection of your financial assets in an accident for a comparatively small investment.

Negligent Entrustment in Indiana

In Indiana, the assumption is that responsible car owners will be selective about letting others, including friends or relatives, drive their vehicle. In cases where an at-fault driver gets into an accident with a borrowed car, this assumption plays an important role. If the court determines that the owner was negligent in loaning his or her vehicle, such as to a driver with a history of traffic violations, the owner could then share liability for any damages resulting from a car accident.

Contact an Attorney For Legal Help Today

If you were in a car accident caused by a driver operating a car that belonged to someone else, you may benefit from seeking legal assistance as soon as possible. 

Our attorneys at Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak have extensive experience handling all types of car accident claims, and we have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of our clients.

Learn about your legal options in a completely FREE initial consultation. There is no obligation to hire our services after this meeting and no catch. This is an opportunity for you to find out if you may have a valid case and to also get answers to your legal questions.

If we represent you, there is nothing to pay up front and no fees to pay our firm unless we first recover money for you.

Call our firm at: (844) 678-1800 to get your FREE consultation today.