If You Cause a Collision While Driving a Friend’s Car, Whose Insurance Covers What Damages?

friend's car insurance

We wanted to share the answer to this question and answer on our blog as it may help our readers...

This question is more complicated than it first appears. The primary rule of thumb is "liability follows the car; first party benefits follow the person". So what does that mean?

In the simplest of circumstances, if you cause an accident while driving a friend's car, the insurance company covering the car will pay for the damage you caused either to persons or property and the insurance policy covering your vehicle will pay your medical benefits and wage loss pursuant to the coverage you purchased. If you do not have a vehicle, the next source of recovery for your medical expenses and lost wages is a policy in your household insuring a relative, such as your mother or brother. If there are not policies in your household, then your medical expenses and lost wages are recoverable from the policy covering the vehicle you were operating at the time of the loss.

To make matters more complicated, assume the vehicle you were driving belonged to your employer and you were in the course of your employment. Then workers' compensation insurance enters the equation to provide you with medical and wage benefits. The insurance policy covering the vehicle you were driving is still responsible for any harm you caused to either persons or property.

Which insurance company pays for what losses is often a complicated, confusing, multi-faceted analysis that must be done on a case by case basis. There are many variables, such as when a motorcycle or pedestrian is involved; or when the policy covering the vehicle is insufficient to cover all the harm that was caused. That is why you should contact a lawyer for a case evaluation.

At Naftulin and Shick, PC, consultations are free. You can reach us at 800-560-3388 or LindaShick@Naftulin-Shick.com. Don't sign anything until you speak to an attorney and assure you are receiving all of the benefits to which you are entitled.