Am I Liable If I Loan Out My Car And It’s Involved In A Crash?
Over the years, most of us have loaned out our car many times, without really thinking twice about it. After all, we all assume we can trust our friends. However, what happens if our friends are involved in a crash? Would you be liable for damages, even if you weren’t the one driving?
Vicarious Liability Means You Could Be Liable
When you loan out your car to someone, you become liable for their actions under the principle of vicarious liability. In New Mexico, this essentially means that the owner of the vehicle is liable for death or injuries -- as well as damage to property -- resulting from a negligent act committed by whoever was driving the car with the owner’s permission. Therefore, even if you weren’t the one driving the vehicle, victims may be able to sue you for damages caused by the driver who hit them. Luckily, the owner’s liability is limited compared to the driver who actually caused the crash.
However, these limits don’t apply if the owner is found negligent in lending their vehicle to the driver. For instance, an owner may be found negligent if they knew the driver had a record of reckless behavior behind the wheel, or if the owner had knowledge their car was defective but allowed for someone to drive it regardless.
Your Insurance Is Still In-Play
Fortunately, car insurance follows a vehicle, not the driver. So, even if you weren’t driving, your auto insurance policy will cover any damages caused by and to your vehicle.
Your auto insurance coverage is considered the primary insurance, meaning that it will be used first to cover any damages. If your friend also has coverage, their insurance will be secondary in that it will cover damages after the limits of your policy have been exhausted, but if the damage exceeds your policy limit, and your friend lacks coverage, you’ll ultimately have to pay for the remaining damages from your own pocket.
Certainly, this is assuming your friend is at fault for the crash. If the other was liable, you’ll file a claim with their insurance policy to cover any damages. Hopefully, they’re not uninsured.
If you or a loved one is injured in a crash, don’t take any chances and call an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer today.
Car Accidents in New Mexico
Each year, car crashes are the leading cause of death for residents of New Mexico. Thousands are seriously injured in the state each year in the aftermath of a crash. Fortunately, injured victims don’t have to pursue deserved compensation on their own.
The experienced legal team at Will Ferguson & Associates is here to help you recover after a crash. We believe in helping those unfairly injured by a reckless driver. If you or a loved one has been unfairly injured in a car accident, contact our law offices today at (505) 207-1727 to discuss your case with a qualified New Mexico car crash attorney.
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