What Are My Rights If I’m Injured Driving a Vehicle I Don’t Own?

If you’re injured in a car accident while driving a vehicle you don’t own in Gainesville, Florida, you still have rights. Here’s what you need to know:

Insurance Follows the Vehicle

Some people mistakenly believe that auto insurance follows the driver – and that’s only partially true. Auto insurance follows the vehicle first, and then the owner of the policy and individuals covered under the policy.

When you purchase auto insurance, your policy typically covers yourself as well as any individuals you permit to drive your vehicle. This can include your family, household members, friends, and acquaintances. This means if you get into a car accident in Gainesville, Florida, and get injured while driving someone else’s car, that person’s insurance policy will cover you. You have the right to make an insurance claim against the vehicle owner’s policy.

Liability Insurance

In Gainesville, Florida, liability insurance follows the vehicle first, then the driver. This means if you’re in a car accident that you caused and you’re injured, the vehicle owner’s liability insurance would cover any damage you caused to the other vehicle first, and then cover expenses associated with your injuries. There are limits to how much liability insurance will cover. If the vehicle owner’s liability insurance reaches its cap BEFORE the expenses associated with your injury are covered, you could make a claim against your own auto insurance.

If you have personal injury protection (PIP) on your auto insurance policy, you have the right to make a claim against your policy if you’re injured while driving someone else’s car. Since PIP follows the driver first, this means you can make a claim against your own PIP policy. Or, if you don’t have PIP or auto insurance, you can make a claim against the vehicle owner’s PIP policy.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re eligible to make a claim against the vehicle owner’s insurance policy or your own, talk to a Gainesville, Florida, accident injury attorney.

Sharing the Cost

Sometimes the insurance policy of both the vehicle owner and the driver will share the costs associated with an accident injury. This can happen when the vehicle owner’s liability insurance isn’t enough to cover the expenses associated with the vehicle accident and injuries. When this happens, your auto insurance policy may pay a portion of the expenses while the vehicle owner’s auto insurance pays the balance. But this only applies when you have auto insurance. If you don’t have auto insurance and the vehicle owner’s liability insurance isn’t enough to cover expenses, the owner could be personally liable for expenses.

Your Driver’s License

If you’re driving without a license, your rights may change even if you’re injured while driving someone else’s vehicle. Since insurance carriers usually exclude coverage for anyone driving without a license, you could end up being personally responsible for your medical expenses. You might also be sued by any passengers or other drivers who were harmed in the accident.

Asking Permission

It’s important to note auto insurance policies only cover drivers who have permission to drive the vehicle. This means if you did not ask to drive someone’s car and you’re injured in a car accident, you may not have the right to make an insurance claim. As a matter of fact, you could be personally responsible for damages and medical expenses.

Permission is key in being eligible to file a successful insurance claim with an auto insurance carrier. If a friend or acquaintance gave you permission to drive their car but is now claiming they didn’t, you may need to talk to a Gainesville, Florida, accident attorney to know your options.

Working Out a Deal

Some injured individuals may be tempted to work out a deal with the owner of the vehicle, especially if that person is a friend or relative. However, even working out a deal with the owner of the vehicle could put you on the hook for thousands of dollars. Remember, medical bills can be expensive. If you’re injured in a car accident, you have the right to make a claim against the vehicle owner’s insurance even if you’re not directly listed on their policy. Speak with an experienced Gainesville accident attorney before you sign any agreements.

If you’ve been injured while driving someone else’s vehicle, don’t panic. You have rights. Even if you’re at fault for the accident, you may still have the right to file an insurance claim. Injured drivers may have the right to file an insurance claim under the vehicle owner’s auto insurance policy or their own PIP policy. Talk to a Gainesville, Florida, accident lawyer today about the details of your case.