If your friend causes an accident while driving your vehicle, you may be responsible for paying for damages as a result of your friend’s negligence. This is why it is important to understand what may be at stake for you in this type of situation and how to possibly avoid being responsible for paying for damages.
Maintaining proper insurance on your vehicle is always important. It is primarily vital to be aware that, as stated by the Department of Motor Vehicles, car insurance typically follows the car. This means that car insurance normally follows and applies to the car it is insured for because someone else other than the owner of a vehicle could be driving the vehicle during an accident. The person responsible for paying for damages will likely be the person assigned to the insurance policy on the car and not necessarily the driver who operated the vehicle during an accident. Therefore, the type of insurance you have for your vehicle is important.
With that being said, there are several factors that determine whether you will be responsible for paying for damages even though the accident was the fault of your friend’s negligence. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that if your friend wrecks your vehicle that his/her insurance will cover the costs of damages unless, (1) the damage exceeds your insurance policy amount and/or (2) your insurance attempts to seek reimbursement from your friend’s insurance. Furthermore, if the amount of damages exceeds your insurance policy amount and your friend does not even have insurance, you will likely be held responsible to cover the remaining amount.
Isn’t Florida a No-Fault State?
Reasonably, it would be fair to make a driver who is at-fault responsible for paying for damages. Nonetheless, you could still be held responsible for paying for damages as a result of your friend’s negligence even though Florida is a “No-Fault” State because the no-fault insurance coverages do not apply to damages for car wrecks.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in the state of Florida, it is required to have a minimum of the following insurance coverages for a four-wheeled registered vehicle:
- Personal Injury Protection Coverage (PIP)
- Property Damage Liability Coverage (PDL)
PIP is the coverage that will help to cover costs, associated with injuries you may sustain in an accident and PDL is the coverage that will cover the costs of damages for another’s property as a result of an accident that is your fault. Thus, because these policies do not cover your own damaged property, in essence, even if you have insurance to cover your own damaged property, in essence, you are still the person left with the responsibility of paying for the damages for your friend’s negligence.
There are several factors to consider to determine whether you would be responsible for the damages of the accident your friend has caused.
- First, make sure to have and maintain the required insurance coverages required by the state of Florida.
- Second, if you give someone else permission to operate your vehicle, make sure he/she has valid automobile insurance, a valid driver’s license, and he/she is capable of properly operating a vehicle on the road.
- Third, if an accident does occur in your vehicle whereby someone else was driving, wrecks your car, and is the at-fault driver, immediately notify your insurance company of the accident.
- Finally, speak to an attorney about possible representation. An experienced attorney will be able to properly assess your situation.
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