If the at-fault driver in a car accident is not the owner of the vehicle, who is liable for the other party or parties’ property damage and bodily injury: the owner, the driver, or both?
The simplest answer to this question is “both.”
The more complicated — but also more accurate — answer is that many circumstances determine who is financially responsible, as well as in what order the law requires responsible parties to pay.
These circumstances include:
- What state the accident occurred in.
- Whether or not the driver had permission from the owner to operate the vehicle.
- Whether the driver had a history of reckless or negligent driving that the vehicle owner knew about.
- The type of insurance the driver and owner carry, and the coverage limits on each party’s policy.
- Other potentially complicating factors, such as auto theft, DUI, and so forth.
If you were in a car accident, and the at-fault driver was operating someone else’s vehicle, you should consult with a car accident attorney about your options for pursuing damages.
An attorney from the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can review the details of your case, determine which parties are primarily and secondarily responsible for your damages, and establish a plan to pursue compensation for your injuries and property damage.
Call us today at 800-747-3733 to set up a free consultation.
Is the Owner or Driver Responsible for Car Accident Damages in Florida?
Every case differs, so talk to an attorney, but in Florida, the person on the vehicle’s title is primarily responsible, as insurance follows the owner, not the driver.
Example: Mike’s brother, Eric, is in town for the weekend, and Mike asks Eric to run to Publix in his car to pick up one of those family chicken dinners. En route, Eric rear-ends Michelle at 55 miles per hour. The damage to her vehicle totals $15,000, and after she reaches her $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit for her injuries, she still has $15,000 left in unpaid medical bills. So, her total damages are $30,000.
Because Mike owned the vehicle and thus insured it under his name, Michelle and her attorney would likely turn to Mike and his insurance company first. However, if Mike’s policy limits do not cover all of Michelle’s damages, she can then turn to Eric and his insurance to pay the remainder.
Although it seems simple at first glance, these situations are highly complex —especially in Florida, where PIP laws add another wrinkle to injury payouts. Therefore, it is important to speak to an attorney before attempting to pursue car accident damages.
Involved in a Car Accident and Seeking Damages? We Can Help!
If you were in a car accident and need answers, schedule a free consultation with the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-747-3733.