What Happens If Someone Gets In An Accident In My Car
[Below is a transcription of the podcast]
Hi, this is Ann Margaret Perkins with Perkins Law Firm and I’m going to be talking today about what happens if someone gets into a car wreck while they’re driving your vehicle.
Let’s assume for the sake of this podcast, the wreck is not the fault of the person you loaned your car to. Someone else caused the wreck. You probably are going to have two concerns. One is the damage to your car. And secondly is the injuries, if any, that the person that you loaned your car to received in the wreck.
You are the person who would make the property damage claim since you own the property. You are who the insurer is going to want to deal with to resolve that claim. So it would be wise for you to go ahead and get a copy of the police report and be able to provide that to the insurer so that they can get started on adjusting the claim. Your car insurer might also offer to adjust the claim for you under your collision coverage. In that event, you may choose to let them go ahead and handle it, but be aware you will have some deductible that you are most likely not going to recover from your insurer but will have to wait until they subrogate against the at-fault party to get that back. Occasionally an insurer will go ahead and cover your deductible. Sometimes they don’t. You just have to see what your insurer’s approach is to that.
In terms of the injuries of the person who was driving your car. They would be able to make a bodily injury claim against the at-fault party. If the at-fault party has little or no insurance, then the person driving your car would be looking at making an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. That claim could involve your policy, since anyone using your car with your permission is an insured for purposes of your uninsured motorist coverage. They’ll also be considered an “insured” under the uninsured motorist any policy they had on a vehicle of their own and any policy of a “resident relative” (any person who was kin to them they lived with).
Your concern might be you don’t want someone who’s driving your car to make a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage for fear it’s likely to make your premiums increase. Georgia has a law that says an insurer may not increase premiums or cancel a policy as result of a multi-vehicle accident when the insured not at fault. O.C.G.A. § 33-9-40. So, if you loan your car to someone else and the wreck is caused by a third party, your UM coverage should not be affected by the fact that the driver of your car needed to make a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
The order in which uninsured motorist coverage pays has been determined by our courts. In most circumstances, the personal UM policy of the person driving your car would be primary. Next would be their resident relatives’ policy, and yours would likely be last. It may be, depending on their injuries and the kind of liability coverage available and the amount of the other uninsured motorist coverage available, they might not even get to your UM coverage. Even so, I always advise clients that it is critical that for any UM coverage that might apply, even if we don’t think it will, we need to put those insurers on notice. This is because many of them now have written notice requirements into their contracts. So, if you don’t put them on notice within the time their policy says (and some are as short as 60 days after the wreck) you may never make a UM claim. Putting them on notice, doesn’t mean we’re making a UM claim; it just means we’re satisfying that notice requirement in the event they need to make a claim later.
If you have any questions about this topic or any others pertaining to personal injury or wrongful death, I’d be happy to talk to you about them. You can reach me at 770- 834-2083 or visit our website injuryispersonal.com. Thanks.