What to do if my friend drove my vehicle and he was involved in an at-fault accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What to do if my friend drove my vehicle and he was involved in an at-fault accident?

The other driver is making a claim on my insurance policy. She approached a lawyer stating that she was injured and her car is not repariable. My friend drove the vehicle without my permission. I had a conversation with my insurance company as I was not the driver but it’s of no use. Moreover, I don’t want to claim on my insurance as he drove the vehicle without my permission. However, he misguided the insurance people saying that I was in the car and also told them that I’m his brother. This wrong because I was out of the state and am not his

brother. He then proceeded to claim on my insurance. How do I resolve all of this?

Asked on October 13, 2018 under Accident Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A car's owner is liable for the accidents of those who had permission to drive his/her car. In this context, "permission" means "did not steal"--anyone whom you did not report for theft and look to file/press charges against for auto theft is considered a permitted driver. Therefore, the only way you may be able to escape liability is to go to the police, file a report, look to press charges--and follow through on helping to prosecute (e.g. testifying against) your friend (if you don't actually follow through on charges, it will look like you were trying to commit a form of fraud by lying about what happened). IF it appears that your friend did in fact steal your car, you (and therefore your insurer) is not liable for any accident. Of course, you may not be willing to try to send your friend to jail.
Your other option is to accept the consequences of your friend taking your car and getting into an accident, but then sue him to recover any loses, costs, etc. you thereby incur: since he was the driver, he would be liable for the amounts he causes you to lose or pay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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