Jason Stephens | August 7, 2022 | Car Accidents
A car accident while driving someone else’s car raises questions about liability that do not arise when you are driving your own car. Texas is an “at-fault” auto insurance state, meaning that injured people can file third-party insurance claims and lawsuits against the at-fault driver.
Can I Drive Another Person’s Car Without Risking Additional Liability?
You might be wondering if your potential liability for an accident will increase if you drive someone else’s car. The good news is that driving someone else’s car is perfectly OK, as long as you have their permission. Since insurance follows the car, not the driver, you will even have access to the car owner’s insurance to cover any liability or injuries you might incur.
If You Don’t Have the Owner’s Permission to Drive That Car
If you were driving another person’s car without their permission, you cannot rely on the owner’s insurance to cover any of your damages, including your own. Additionally, you could face criminal liability regardless of who caused the accident.
Texas Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverage
Texas law requires all drivers with cars registered in Texas to maintain the following mandatory auto insurance coverage:
- $30,000 coverage for bodily injury per person,
- $60,000 total coverage for bodily injury per accident; and
- $25,000 of liability coverage for property damage.
Other forms of insurance, such as uninsured motorist coverage, are available but voluntary.
If the Accident Was the Other Driver’s Fault
if the accident was another driver’s fault, you can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy. If the insurance company unjustly refuses to pay, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and recover from their insurance company.
If the other driver has no liability insurance, find out whether the owner of the car you were driving has uninsured motorist insurance. If so, the owner of the car you were driving is in luck, and so are you if you suffered an injury. If not, you are still not liable for the accident unless it was at least partly your fault.
If the Accident Was Your Fault
What should you do when you hit someone’s car in an accident? It will help you to prepare in advance in case you face this situation. If the accident was your fault, you can rely on the insurance policies held by the owner of the car. You can rely on the car owner’s insurance to pay for damages suffered by other parties—the other driver and passengers in either car, plus property damage. Liability insurance will not pay for your own injuries.
Nevertheless, to the extent that the owner doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, your own insurance will pay if you have any. You can even file a claim against .your insurance company for your own injuries if you carry this type of insurance.
Non-Owner Liability Insurance
If you don’t own a car but often borrow someone else’s car, you can buy non-owner liability insurance to pay for damages and injuries you cause to others while driving someone else’s car. Although this includes pedestrian accidents, a person hit by a car can generate a large liability claim.
If You Were Driving a “Loaner” From an Auto Repair Shop
If you borrow a loaner from an auto repair shop and cause an accident, your liability insurance will pay for damages to the loaner and other people’s damages. Make sure the policy limits are high enough to pay for any damage you are likely to cause.
If the Accident Was Partly Your Fault
Teas applies a “modified comparative fault” regime. that divides liability among at-fault drivers except when one driver was more than 50% at fault for the accident. If the accident was at least 51% your fault, you would not receive any compensation. In many cases, however, you can contest the percentage of fault that is attributed to you.
When a Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer will probably be worth their legal fee if you have a reasonably large claim, especially if liability is in dispute or if you share fault for the accident with another driver. Almost any personal injury lawyer operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning your legal fee will be calculated as a percentage of the amount you recover. If your layer recovers nothing, you will owe your lawyer nothing.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107