Liable for an Older Adult Parent’s Auto Accident
In many cases, you are not liable for an older adult parent’s auto accident whether they were driving your car or their own. However, some state laws allow injured parties to sue a car owner even if they weren’t driving, meaning you could share liability if your car was involved in the accident. Your own insurance policy also may not cover extra drivers. Make sure you check your policy before letting an older adult parent use your vehicle. If your parents were in a crash, our auto accident attorneys can review your legal options during a free consultation. Call us today at (954) 633-8270.
How Liability Typically Works in Older Adult Auto Accidents
Generally, when you insure your vehicle, you do just that insure the vehicle, not the drivers. As a result, some insurance companies will cover an accident when someone other than you was driving.
Two factors to keep in mind are:
- What does your policy say about lending your vehicle to another driver?
- What are your policy’s coverage limits?
Not all insurance companies extend coverage to other drivers. Some even require you to list everyone you expect will use your vehicle. Anyone not on the list is generally not covered. If your parent is not listed, your insurer may not cover the costs of their accident, leaving you responsible for paying.
Additionally, like in any accident, your insurance policy only covers up to a certain amount. Even if your older parent was covered, if the accident involved severe injuries and property damage, you may need to pay expenses that are over your policy limits.
Other Consequences for You After Your Parent’s Car Accident
Having an older parent cause an accident in your car can affect you in other ways, most notably in your insurance rates. You may not have driven the car and caused the crash, but as the policyholder, the crash could still go on your insurance record.
Some State Laws Could Leave You Liable for a Parent’s Crash
Just as coverage varies with each insurance company, liability laws vary by state. Determining liability in an older adult parent car accident requires knowing how fault is determined in your state. For example:
- At-fault states: Drivers are held responsible for their part in an accident, and injured parties file with the at-fault driver’s insurance for coverage
- No-fault states: Drivers file with their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to receive some medical benefits, lost income, and other compensation
Pursuing a lawsuit is easier in at-fault states, whereas no-fault states may only allow lawsuits for serious injuries.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Most states require bodily injury liability coverage to help pay for scenarios just like the one you’re in. This coverage pays for the other party’s losses in a crash.
That said, there are exceptions. For instance, Florida doesn’t require bodily injury liability at all. Check your insurance policy and speak with an Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney about your state’s bodily injury liability coverage requirements.
Negligent Entrustment in Older Adult Car Accidents
One way in which you could find yourself held liable for your older adult parent’s auto accident is if the case involves negligent entrustment.
Personal injury cases are based on negligence someone acted in a way that violated a duty of care, causing injury and leaving them responsible for damages. Car accident negligence can include drunk driving, speeding, or failure to yield.
Negligent entrustment places responsibility on a car owner for lending their vehicle to someone not fit to operate it. By letting someone unqualified drive your car and cause injury, you could be held liable for the accident.
Grounds for Negligent Entrustment in Auto Accident Cases
Facing liability for negligent entrustment typically requires someone to prove you knew your parent was not fit to drive because of:
- Medical conditions
- Difficulty seeing
- Difficulty remembering
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point to common consequences of aging as factors that affect driving ability, like changes in physical functioning and the loss of the ability to reason. If this describes your loved one, you could find yourself liable for an accident they caused in your car. Negligent entrustment cases are sometimes complicated, especially when an older loved one’s health is in question. Your Fort Myers auto accident attorney can evaluate cases involving this type of liability.
What if Your Parent Has an Auto Accident in Their Own Car?
Even if you help take care of an aging parent, you are not responsible for what happens when they drive their own vehicle. If they cause an accident in their car, they and their insurance coverage are typically liable.
Learn About Liability Risks Now if Your Older Adult Parent Caused an Auto Accident
If your older adult parent’s auto accident has you worried about how you’ll pay for any damages, you can get answers today from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato. Call (954) 633-8270 now to set up a free consultation and learn about your state’s laws, your insurer’s responsibilities, and how to protect yourself and your loved one.