Accident during test drive


I met with an accident during test driving a new
vehicle, and I did not have collision damage
insurance. My insurance had returned the
claim. Now I have received the bill from the
dealers insurance to pay for the damages.
Do I need to pay or what else can be done?

Do the dealers insurance would have
insurance for uninsured persons taking test

Thanks Regards,
Harish S

Asked on May 8, 2016 under Accident Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The dealer's insurance company paid the dealer--that's what they do. However, the law does not require the dealer's insurer to cover or absorb the costs caused by other people: they are allowed to hold the people who cause accidents accountable and seek reimbursement from them. (This is called "subrogation.")
IF you feel you were not at fault in causing the accident--for example, you were driving carefully, and someone (another car) went through a stop light or sign to hit you; or you were stopped at a light when hit from behind--then you do not have to pay: liability, or the  obligation to pay, depends on fault, and the insurer can only recover from an at-fault party. So in the examples above, they should be seeking money from that other driver. In these cases, you can refuse to pay; they can try to sue you, but to win, would have to prove in court that you were at fault.
But if you were at fault in some way--e.g. hit a stationary object, which by definition is careless; you were speeding or going too fast for conditions; you changed lanes without looking; you went through some traffic signal; you checked texts or emails or the web while driving; etc.--then you would be liable, and if you don't pay voluntarily, they could sue you and would very likely win.

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