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What Happens if Someone Else is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident?

Car crashes are reported every single day in our region. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), there are approximately seven car accident injuries reported every hour in the Commonwealth. Do you let another person borrow your vehicle? The reality is that there is always a risk that they could be involved in a crash. 

This raises an important question: Who is responsible if another driver gets into an accident in my vehicle? While the answer depends on several factors, auto insurance liability coverage typically goes with the car, not the driver. Here, our Philadelphia car accident attorney explains the key things that you should know if someone else gets into a crash while driving your car in Pennsylvania. 

General Rule: A Liability Insurance Policy Follows the Vehicle, Not the Driver

Under Pennsylvania law, all motorists are required to obtain and maintain minimum mandatory liability coverage. The Pennsylvania Department of Driver and Vehicle Services explains that motorists should meet the following minimum liability requirements: 

  • $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person;
  • $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident; and
  • $5,000 in property damage coverage per accident. 

As a general rule, the liability policy follows the vehicle, not the driver. In other words, if you let another person borrow your car and they are found to be legally responsible for an accident, your insurance policy may be on the hook. These could lead to increased premiums in the future.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage is Different—Follows Driver

Pennsylvania has no-fault insurance. Motorists can opt-out of the no-fault system, but no-fault coverage is standard. The coverage—called Personal Injury Protection (PIP)—covers initial medical expenses after an accident regardless of fault. Unlike liability insurance, PIP coverage follows the driver, rather than the car. Put another way, if another person is hurt in a crash while driving your car, your PIP coverage will likely not apply.  

A Vehicle Owner Could Face a Negligent Entrustment Claim in Certain Circumstances

There are some limited scenarios in which you could also be held personally liable when someone else gets into a crash while driving your car. It generally happens through a negligent entrustment claim. Negligent entrustment is a legal term that refers to the act of entrusting a vehicle to someone who is known to be reckless, incompetent, or otherwise unqualified to operate a vehicle. Some examples include: 

  • Allowing an underage person to drive your car;
  • Allowing an unlicensed person to drive your car; and
  • Allowing a person who you know is reckless to drive your car. 

Contact Our Philadelphia Auto Accident Attorney for Immediate Help 

At the Quinn Law Group, our Philadelphia car accident lawyer is your voice and your advocate. If you have any questions about a case involving someone else getting into an accident in your case, we can help. Contact us today for a free, no obligation review of your personal injury claim. With a legal office in Philadelphia, we handle auto accident claims throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Chester County, and Bucks County.