You may be quick to let a family member or close friend borrow your car, but remember that you’re also letting them borrow your auto insurance. If they get into a car accident, you’ll be the one who has to pay for any damages. Keep in mind that, if the other driver files a claim, your insurance rate is likely to increase. While the person you entrusted the vehicle to may be willing to pay for any damages, they probably won’t want to cover the increased insurance.
At Mintz Law Firm, we can discuss the accident and advise you on what next steps you should take to protect your legal rights.
Primary and Secondary Auto Coverage
When you let someone else drive your vehicle and an accident occurs, your insurance is usually considered the primary insurance. Your friend or family member’s insurance provides secondary coverage, meaning you may be able to use it once you reach your policy limits.
However, suppose the borrower doesn’t have auto insurance or enough funds to cover any remaining costs. In that case, you may be liable for covering the rest out of pocket, which can be financially damaging. Before lending your car to anyone, you need to know if they have adequate insurance coverage.
If someone took your car without permission and crashed, their insurance would be the primary coverage. Also, if they weren’t at fault for the accident, you’d be able to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company.
Can the Other Driver Sue Me after a Car Accident in Colorado?
In some situations, the other party may be able to sue you for negligent entrustment. The Colorado Supreme Court recognized the negligent entrustment doctrine in Casebolt v. Cowan in 1992.
To succeed in suing you, the victim must prove certain elements. They will not automatically win just because someone else was driving your car. They must prove that:
- You entrusted the vehicle to another person.
- That person was unfit to be on the road.
- You knew that person was unfit when you lent them the vehicle.
- The victim was injured.
- Their injuries were reasonably foreseeable to you.
Knowledge of the driver’s fitness is one of the most contestable arguments your attorney can scrutinize in your defense. If the driver was inexperienced, drunk, or known to be a reckless driver, then you might be liable.
Can Comparative Negligence Help My Accident Case?
Comparative negligence reduces the amount of damages a party can recover in a negligence claim. However, Colorado follows modified comparative negligence. Under this law, if a judge, jury, or insurer determines that a party is more than 50% liable or more for the accident, they forfeit their right to any financial compensation.
Keep in mind that there are still ways that the injured victim was also responsible for the accident. Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the case and look for any evidence that can place part of the blame on them. Some examples may include texting, failing to yield, or not signaling a turn.
Trust Experieced Auto Accident Attorneys in Colorado
In a best-case scenario, no one is injured and there are only minor damages to either car. But when there are significant damages or severe injuries, things can get complicated and overwhelming quickly, especially if the person you lent the car to was unfit to drive or doesn’t have enough auto insurance.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Mintz Law Firm will launch a full investigation into your case and the events leading up to the accident. We will do everything in our power to make sure to obtain a favorable result.
Contact us today or call (303) 462-2999 to schedule your free consultation.