What to do about an auto accident with an unauthorized driver?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do about an auto accident with an unauthorized driver?

A vehicle veered off the road and did damage to my property. The vehicle was a rental car and the driver, a minor, was not an authorized driver of the car. The person who should have been driving was actually a passenger in the vehicle. Insurance company for the renter denies damage claims because their insured was not actually driving the car. Insurance company for the rental agency denies claims because the driver was not an authorized driver. Who is ultimately responsible for paying for the damage to my property?

Asked on August 13, 2012 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The renter, who allowed the unauthorized minor may be liable for paying for the damage, since the approved or legal driver of a car may be responsible for the actions (and damage) of those he or she let's drive the vehicle; he or she could also be negligent in allowing a minor to drive, which provides another ground for liability.

The minor's parents (if different from the authorized driver/renter) may also be liable, since the parents of a minor are generally responsible for his or her wrongful acts. If the renter was the parent, this is another basis for holding him/her liable.

You can therefore sue the authorized driver and the minor's parent(s) (if separate from the authorized driver) to recover compensation. Insurance does not determine obligation to pay, but merely provides an alternate way to pay or source of payment; even if the insurers are not obligated to pay because the driver violated the terms of the coverage somehow, you can still directly sue the persons at fault in causing damage to your car.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption