Liability Determined After a Borrowed Car Accident
Liability is determined after a borrowed car accident in the same way as it is determined after any kind of accident: each party’s lawyer and insurance company investigate the collision, collect evidence, and come to their own conclusions about how the borrowed auto accident occurred.
Defining Car Accident Liability
In many cases, when someone is found liable for causing a car accident, that means they exhibited negligent or outright reckless behavior that they knew had the potential to do harm. Common reasons why a driver might be liable for a borrowed car accident include if they:
- Were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drove well over the speed limit
- Ignored a red light or a stop sign
- Did not give the driver in front of them enough space
- Drove in the wrong direction or made an illegal turn
What happens if the car you are driving malfunctions in a way that contributes to the accident? If that car belongs to someone else, and if you had no reasonable way of knowing about the danger beforehand, the car owner could be liable instead of you. This might be the case if the owner:
- Did not take the car for regular tune-ups
- Did not replace a recalled, defective, or broken part
- Did not tell you about past accidents or potential hazards associated with the car
Finally, if a car owner loans their car to a driver they know is irresponsible, both the owner and the driver could share liability.
Who Investigates After a Borrowed Car Accident?
Several parties may have a stake in investigating such a crash, including:
- The drivers’ lawyers, who want to establish their clients’ innocence and maximize the amount of compensation they recover
- The police, who have a legal obligation to respond to serious accidents, per Florida Statutes § 316.066
- The drivers’ insurance companies, who may need to pay settlements based on the terms of their policies
Each investigator has a different motive for looking into the case. You can hire a Fort Myers car accident lawyer to investigate on your behalf and fight to establish your right to compensation.
Collecting Evidence After a Borrowed Car Accident
Car accident investigators can seek evidence from any number of sources. They might:
- Visit the place where the accident happened to get a better idea of the street layout and what types of evidence are available
- Locate and review video footage from surveillance cams, traffic cams, or witness cell phones
- Talk to witnesses about what they remember seeing or hearing
- Request documentation from your doctor, the responding police officer, or the insurance companies
- Interview you about your experiences during and after the accident
- Ask experts with relevant knowledge to share their opinion about one or more aspects of the crash
Most investigators start searching for evidence as soon as they can after an accident. Evidence is often easier to find and more reliable right after the event versus months or years down the line.
Analyzing Borrowed Auto Accident Evidence
Once the investigator has collected all of the evidence they can find, they will go over these materials carefully to:
- See if there are any contradictions between pieces of evidence and if they can resolve those contradictions
- Determine how serious everyone’s losses were, including the severity of their injuries, financial losses, and the extent of the property damage
- Identify who is liable and if more than one party shares liability
In many cases, one of the drivers is the primary liable party. However, there are some cases where an investigator discovers another liable party, such as the manufacturer of a faulty auto part.
Why Are Borrowed Car Accidents More Complex?
As a general rule, the more parties are involved in a case, the more difficult it is to determine liability. If you were driving your own car when another driver hit you, the only involved parties might be you and the other driver.
When you borrow someone else’s car, however, a third party enters the equation: you, the other driver, and the person you borrowed the car from. Now, Fort Myers personal injury lawyers and insurers must work extra hard to determine:
- The exact sequence of events
- Who was at fault
- Whose insurer should pay for whose damages and how much they should pay
When to Sue After a Borrowed Car Crash
If you do not want a court to reject your case out of hand, you must generally file within four years of the accident date. This is the statute of limitations codified in Florida Statutes § 95.11. That is why it is a good idea to hire a attorney quickly so they can get started on your case sooner rather than later.
Meet Our Car Accident Lawyers Today
After an accident involving a borrowed car, the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can help determine liability and pursue the compensation you deserve. Call (954) 633-8270 today to get a free case review and learn more about our legal services.