Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011

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Insurance Question from Grand Island, NE

Asked on 09/14/2011

In Nebraska is it legal for an insurance company to make payment and then sue the other driver’s insurance for reimbursement. My son's friend wrecked my son's car. He had permission to drive but my son did not know the boy had been drinking. My son was not along. Car is registered in my name. Boy hit a parked car. He tried to flee the scene and was apprehended and charged with DUI. Insurance follows the car, so it is ours. They said if they pay they cannot(in NE) go after the other boy's insurance. They say the car is totaled at $3500 damages. I would like the boy to pay rather than turn in and raise my rates. His family maintains our insurance should sue theirs. My son has filed in small claims court.

Answer given on September 18, 2011

You are correct that insurance follows the car, not the driver. So, in this case your insurance will pay for the damages to the parked car under property damage coverage and, if you have collision insurance, it will pay for the damsges to your car, less your deductible. Since the boy was a permissive user of the car, there is little recourse. If Nebraska law does not allow your insurance company to go after the boy’s insurance, then your insurance company is on the hook for all damages.However, since the boy does have other insurance, and is not a driver in your household or on your policy, your rates will not be affected. The insurance rates for the boy’s insurance are the ones that will be increased due to the accident and ticket, even though his insurance company did not pay out on the accident. They are allowed to rate for the driving record of their client, so they will be able to surcharge the insurance, and/or non-renew or exclude the boy from the policy.You may be able to go to small claims court to have the boy pay for your deductible. You may want to check with an attorney, or ask your insurance agent about this.


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