It happens pretty often that vehicle owners will hand their keys to their teen drivers, roommates, and a few other people in their lives. They believe that they’re giving their keys to a responsible driver who should not get into a crash. Unfortunately, accidents happen to everybody. Then there’s the situation of a stolen vehicle, or when someone drives your car without permission.
Now in very general terms, you are liable for the actions of the person driving your vehicle. However, that can change depending upon whether the vehicle was stolen, if they had permission to use your car, and if they lived in your household. What you need to do is go through the elements of your claim and see if you really should go through your insurance policy or if they need to file a separate claim through the driver’s policy. A local car wreck attorney in Atlanta may be able to point you in the right direction.
Stolen Vehicles and Reporting Correctly
You should always report a vehicle stolen immediately. If your car was in your driveway and no one asked for your permission to use it, and suddenly it’s not in your driveway, then something is wrong. If you fail to report your car stolen immediately, then it could derail the entire claim you have later. Because if you find out later that your sibling or a roommate took the car and report it stolen, then you’re providing inaccurate or incomplete information.
So how can you go about reporting a car stolen if you know who did take it? Be very transparent with the information. For example, if you noticed the car was out of the driveway and called your sister and she took your car without permission, you can still report it stolen. At that point, you would inform Atlanta police that your sibling took your car without your permission and give them any additional information. But, if it looks like you’re trying to cover for someone or you’re only reporting it stolen after the wreck, then you’ll have problems with your report and your claim.
If reported correctly, a stolen car in a crash usually doesn’t fall to you. However, you might need to rely on your collision coverage to manage any damage that happened to your vehicle. Then the other driver would go through that driver’s insurance policy if they had one.
The idea of a household member driving the family car isn’t new because most households still only have one vehicle, and it’s shared. Vehicles are large and expensive assets, which often means that households can only afford one and the people that live in the house share. Now when you signup for insurance, they ask about the people living in your house, and they ask about the access they would have to your keys. They may use very specific questions such as, “Besides you and your spouse, who might drive your vehicle?”
That question doesn’t mean, who would drive it regularly, it means who could drive it ever? Because it’s very likely that if you have a family car, but you have the insurance, then you’re responsible for resolving the crash regardless of who was driving.
Roommates and Other Obstacles
Now, say you live in a house and have roommates. You need to call your insurance and specifically say that they do not have any permission to drive your vehicle. Doing this ahead of time can open exceptions for if someone took your car without your permission. It’s vital that you clarify to your insurance that you don’t have a family car so that if someone does take your vehicle without you know, then you’re not responsible.
Will a Lawyer be Able to Help if Someone Drives Your Car and Gets in an Accident?
The big question isn’t if a car accident attorney in Georgia can actually help you with your claim. It’s impossible to say without getting into details, but after when someone drives your car and gets into a wreck, the vehicle owner has to turn to their insurance policy. With variances and exceptions made for some drivers and some family vehicles, it is possible for the driver to also report the crash and file a claim through their insurance policy. Also, report the crash and file a claim through their insurance policy.
The best thing that you can do until you have a full picture of the details is to contact a local law firm that handles car accident cases. A Georgia car accident lawyer can spell out what you should expect in terms of dealing with the wreck that someone else caused while driving your vehicle. You can schedule a consultation with the law offices of John B. Jackson in Atlanta.