It is pretty straightforward that when you cause an accident with your car, your car insurance will often pay for the damages involved. However, you may wonder what happens when the person driving your car isn’t you when an accident occurs. Will the fact that you weren’t behind the wheel prevent you from making a claim?
Auto insurance in Colorado follows the car, not the driver. However, the matter of whose insurance pays will depend on who was at fault. Therefore, if someone drives your car and crashes, you may be held liable for the expenses. Luckily, our lawyers at Mintz Law Firm are here to help you if you ever find yourself in this legal predicament.
Auto Insurance Coverage in Colorado
Every insurance policy in Colorado must include three basic liability coverages at a minimum:
- Bodily injury liability coverage for a single person in an accident the policyholder causes: A driver must have at least $25,000 in coverage for this liability. If you cause an accident and a single person is injured, this coverage comes into play to cover their medical expenses and damages.
- Bodily injury liability coverage for a total accident: Suppose you cause an accident that injures multiple occupants in the other vehicle. In that case, you must have at least $50,000 in this form of coverage to compensate for medical expenses and other damages.
- Property damage liability coverage: An at-fault driver is responsible for repairing or replacing the other driver’s vehicle. Colorado drivers must have at least $15,000 in property damage liability coverage.
While not required, it is advisable to purchase an uninsured motorist policy. This will come in handy if you’re involved in an accident involving an at-fault uninsured motorist. While this coverage may not cover all the damages, it will provide some relatively quick compensation while you work with our lawyers to take some legal action against the at-fault driver.
What Happens if the At-Fault Driver Wasn’t the Person Driving Your Car?
Colorado is an at-fault state. This means that in an accident if the driver at-fault isn’t the one driving your car, you can file a claim with their insurance company to recoup losses and damages.
The person driving your vehicle has the right to seek compensation for their injuries from the at-fault driver’s policy. Additionally, you can claim vehicle repair costs from the at-fault driver’s policy.
Who Can or Should Not Borrow My Car in Colorado?
Who borrows your car is at your discretion. However, allowing some drivers may lead to legal penalties or higher car insurance premiums if they cause an accident. These drivers include:
- Unlicensed drivers
- A driver who has had their license suspended
There are ‘named driver policies’ that only cover drivers who are explicitly named on the policy. This means that accidents are not covered if you let someone who is not named on your policy drive your car. In Colorado, insurance companies are legally allowed to reduce coverage limits for any driver not explicitly listed on your policy.
Suppose the driver behind the wheel is listed in your policy. In that case, your insurance is considered the primary insurance in an accident, regardless of whether you are in the car with that person or not or whether the person has their own insurance policy or not.
What Happens if the Damages Caused by the Accident Exceed Your Policy Coverage?
If the person driving your car is uninsured, you can be left in an awful spot if the damage your friend causes exceeds your policy limits. Your personal assets will be at risk, as the injured party can come after you for medical and property-damage expenses. However, if the person driving your car is insured, their car insurance becomes the secondary coverage in case your policy limits are exceeded.
If you are in a predicament in which the person driving your car was uninsured, your car accident lawyer will help you explore your options.
What Happens if Someone Borrows Your Car Without Your Permission and Crashes It?
An insurance company will assume that permission was granted unless explicitly proven otherwise. This will be a case of an unauthorized use, not theft. In this case, if the driver is insured, their insurance becomes the primary insurer in the accident.
However, if they are not insured, your collision insurance will cover damages to your own car, and your liability insurance may cover damages to others’ property.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Colorado Auto Accident Lawyer Now
Getting paid the amount you deserve for damages and losses after an auto accident is no easy task. At Mintz Law Firm, we understand that you need a compassionate lawyer who has your interest at heart to help navigate this complex process. For instance, if the at-fault driver’s insurance is unable to cover the damages to the vehicle and victim(s), they are personally liable.
If you live in Colorado and need assistance with any of the above-mentioned situations, reach out to Mintz Law Firm to sort out the settlement. Our Colorado personal injury lawyers can even fight for you in court if it ever comes to that. You can rest assured that we will be available to you and offer you all viable options for your case. Contact us at (303) 462-2999 now or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.