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Who Is Liable in a Utah Car Accident – the Driver or the Car Owner?

Determining fault after any Utah car accident can be difficult, and if someone else was driving your vehicle and got into a crash, you’re going to want to know who is liable. Are they responsible? Can a car owner be sued for another driver’s accident? What, if anything, will insurance cover?

As a general rule, insurance follows the vehicle – not the driver – so your insurance policy should kick in. But like every rule, there are exceptions. Below, we take a look at the various scenarios.

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Your Insurance Should Cover the Damages for Permissive Drivers

If you let a friend or neighbor drive your car and they caused an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about being sued -- most insurance policies cover permissive drivers, or people who have your permission to get behind the wheel.

Your liability insurance should cover the losses incurred by the other motorist involved in the car accident, including property damage and injury damage. However, if your policy limit is exhausted, coverage for any remaining losses will need to come from the insurance of the person who drove your vehicle.

As for the damage to your car, that depends upon whether or not you have collision coverage. And, your insurance company may require a deductible payment.

You Could Be Held Liable for Negligent Entrustment

In certain circumstances, you could be sued for damages resulting from a car accident caused by a permissive driver.

As a car owner, you have the duty to take reasonable precautions when lending out your vehicle – and if the person you allowed to drive your car fits one or more of the following criteria – a case could be made against you for negligent entrustment:

  • The driver doesn’t possess a valid license
  • The driver has little driving experience
  • The driver has a history of reckless driving
  • The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The driver has an illness or condition that compromises their ability to drive safely

Car owners also have the duty to maintain their vehicles to proper safety standards. If you haven’t – and if you’re aware of a potential safety issue, such as a malfunctioning turn signal or brakes that occasionally fail – you might be found negligent and, therefore, may be financially responsible for damages incurred in an accident.

Negligence of any sort must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But the fact is, if you knew the person who wanted to borrow your car was unfit to get behind the wheel – or that your car was unfit for the road -- you could be held liable. For that reason, you may want to seek the advice of an experienced Utah car accident attorney.

Talk to an Experienced Utah Car Accident Attorney Today

Are you concerned about getting sued for another driver’s accident? The legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates has decades of experience helping people navigate the aftermath of a Utah car accident, and our attorneys can protect your rights and interests.

If someone else crashed your vehicle, contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation and case review with a Utah car accident attorney today.

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