The same steps need to be taken immediately after any car accident. Everyone involved in the crash should get necessary emergency medical attention, the police should be called, the drivers should share contact and insurance information, and any available evidence should be preserved.
But what happens next? Who will pay car accident damages if someone else was driving your car? The answer depends on whether the driver had your permission to drive your vehicle and who was at fault for the accident.
Who Is Responsible for Car Accident Damages if Someone Else Was Driving Your Car?
In Kansas and Missouri, the answer to this question depends on several factors. Below are some common situations you need to know about if your car was borrowed or stolen.
The Driver Had Permission to Drive Your Car and Caused the Accident
Car insurance applies to vehicles, not people. Therefore, if you purchased car insurance and gave someone else permission to drive your car, then your insurance may pay for property damage and personal injuries suffered in the accident. The driver's insurance company may be responsible for the difference if you don't have enough insurance to cover all of the accident damages.
The Driver Did Not Have Permission to Drive Your Car and Caused the Accident
You should not be liable for damages if the driver did not have permission to drive your car at the time of the crash.
The driver may not have had your permission to drive your car if:
- The driver took the car out of the agreed-upon area. For example, you may loan your car to a friend so that your friend can run an errand or go to a medical appointment in Kansas City. However, instead of doing that, your friend decides to take your car to St. Louis without your knowledge or consent. In this situation, your friend did not have permission to drive your car.
- The driver lent your car to someone else without your consent. You may have allowed a friend to borrow your car, but you did not give permission for that friend to loan your car to their spouse, parent, child, or anyone else.
- Your car was stolen. A stranger may take your car, or someone you know who is not an authorized driver of your vehicle may take your car without your consent. In either case, the car is stolen, and you should not be liable for accident damages.
In these cases, the driver of the car may be responsible for accident damages.
The Driver of Your Car Committed a Crime
If the driver of your car committed a crime without your knowledge, the driver may face criminal charges and be liable for accident damages. For example, you may not be liable for accident damages if you lent your car to a sober friend who later caused a drunk driving accident.
The Driver of Your Car Did Not Cause the Accident
The driver of your car may not have caused the accident. If another driver caused the crash, then the insurer of that vehicle should pay for accident damages.
However, the liability issue may be contested as it is often after Kansas City car accidents. You may need an experienced Kansas City accident lawyer to help you figure out who caused the crash and who is legally responsible for paying damages.