Car accidents happen every day in Colorado. These incidents are often unpredictable and damaging, and it can be difficult to determine the best steps to take after any accident. Confusion is also likely to arise in the event you let someone else borrow your car and they have an accident. Colorado is a fault state when it comes to car accidents, so an at-fault driver is liable for any damages they cause to others.
The legal questions that often follow car accidents in Denver can be incredibly stressful and frustrating. If you discover that you allowed someone else to borrow your car and they had an accident, this can make an already difficult situation even more challenging. Many people in this position wonder how their car insurance applies if someone else was driving their vehicle. If you let someone borrow your car and they have an accident, it’s important to understand Colorado’s fault rule for car accidents.
Before 2003, Colorado was a “no-fault” state when it came to car accidents. This meant that if you had a car accident, you would need to file a claim against your own insurance policy regardless of who caused the accident. In 2003, Colorado shifted to a fault-based system. This means all drivers must carry auto insurance policies that provide bodily injury liability coverage, total accident liability coverage for bodily injuries to multiple people in one accident, and property damage liability coverage. An auto policy must offer at least $25,000, $50,000, and $15,000 for these items, respectively.
If you are involved in a car accident, you have the right to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. If their coverage provides enough for the full cost of your damages, your recovery process may end with just an insurance claim. However, if the at-fault driver only has a minimum coverage policy or does not have insurance, you would need to file a personal injury claim against them. This same fault rule applies when someone else borrows your vehicle.
Many drivers assume that their auto insurance follows them, but the reality is that an insurance policy follows a vehicle, not the driver. If you let someone else borrow your car, you are essentially letting them borrow your insurance policy as well. If they cause an accident, anyone injured by their actions would have the right to file a claim against your auto insurance policy. If they were injured by someone else’s negligence, they would have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s policy.
Since Colorado follows a fault-based system for determining car accident liability, if another driver is responsible for an accident, you must prove they were negligent in some way that directly resulted in your damages. Proving negligence means identifying an at-fault party’s duty of care in a given situation and securing evidence that proves they breached this duty of care. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding are just a few examples of how drivers can negligently cause accidents.
If you are unsure how to prove liability for a recent car accident, it’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can review the details of your claim and closely examine the available evidence to help you establish fault for your damages. They may seek to obtain traffic camera footage, vehicle computer data, and cell phone records to help you prove liability. Witness statements from others who saw the accident occur are also likely to come up in the proceedings that follow the accident.
Q: Can You Sue a Person Who Borrows Your Car and Wrecks It?
A: If someone else wrecks your vehicle after you gave them permission to drive it, your auto insurance would come into play if they caused the accident. In the event your auto insurance does not cover the resulting damages, their own auto insurance could come into play as secondary coverage. If you are unsure how to approach an insurance claim after someone borrowed your car and wrecked it, consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Q: What Happens If Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident in Colorado?
A: If someone borrows your car and has an accident, the situation will follow the fault rule just like any other car accident case in Colorado. The at-fault driver is responsible for damages caused to other drivers. An experienced attorney can help their client navigate complex insurance claims and address any incidents of bad faith they may encounter due to unclear liability for an accident.
Q: What Should You Do If You Crash a Car That Is Not Yours?
A: When you have an accident while borrowing someone else’s car, you should call the police to report the incident immediately. After addressing any immediate medical needs you may have, you should consult a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you determine your best legal options for addressing the situation. This may include filing a claim against an at-fault driver, bringing your own auto insurance into play, or a combination of these options.
Q: Are You Liable If Someone Else Wrecks Your Car?
A: If you let someone else borrow your vehicle, you are essentially allowing them to borrow your insurance. Your auto insurance follows your vehicle, not you. This means your insurance comes into play if they have an accident. If the resulting damages eclipse your coverage limits, the borrower’s insurance would come into play. However, if you allow someone to borrow your car who does not have driving privileges or who is obviously intoxicated, you could face criminal charges.
It’s understandable to have lots of questions about dealing with insurance after a car accident. If you let someone else borrow your car and they had an accident, this can be incredibly stressful and frustrating, but the situation can work out better than you might expect when you have legal counsel on your side. Contact an experienced car accident attorney in Denver, CO if you have questions concerning liability for a recent accident.