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

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

When you lend your car to a friend or family member, you trust them to handle your vehicle with care. However, accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of their driving skills. If someone else is driving your car and gets into an accident, you might wonder: what happens if someone else is driving my car and gets into an accident? At Princenthal, May & Wilson, we understand that these situations can be complex and confusing. This blog post aims to clarify what happens in such scenarios, helping you navigate the aftermath with a clearer understanding of your rights and responsibilities. 

Understanding Liability in Georgia

In Georgia, the liability for a car accident generally follows the vehicle, not the driver. This means that if someone else is driving your car and causes an accident, your auto insurance policy will likely be the primary source of coverage for any damages or injuries. 

Primary Coverage by the Car Owner’s Insurance

The car owner’s insurance provides primary coverage in the event of an accident. This includes bodily injury liability, which takes care of any injuries sustained by other parties involved in the accident. Additionally, the property damage liability coverage in your insurance policy will cover the costs of repairing or replacing the other party’s vehicle or property.

Driver’s Insurance as Secondary Coverage

If the damage exceeds your policy limits, the driver’s insurance may step in to cover the remaining costs. This is secondary coverage and only applies after your insurance limits are exhausted.

Potential Scenarios and Outcomes

Regardless of who was driving, an accident involving your car can affect your insurance premiums. Insurance companies often increase premiums following a claim, especially if you’re found to be at fault or if the driver has a poor driving record. It’s important to understand that even if the accident was not your fault, your insurer might still raise your rates due to the increased risk associated with your vehicle.

Steps to Take After an Accident

If someone else was driving your car and got into an accident, there are several important steps you should take to protect yourself. First, ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure all individuals involved in the accident are safe and seek medical attention if necessary. Next, call the police to report the accident and obtain a copy of the police report. Gather information by collecting the driver’s details, insurance information, and the contact information of any witnesses.

Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, providing them with all relevant details and documentation. Additionally, consult with an experienced attorney to understand your rights and obligations and to get help navigating the claims process.

Understanding the implications of someone else driving your car and getting into an accident is crucial. The primary coverage typically comes from your insurance policy, but the specifics can vary based on the circumstances of the accident and the drivers involved. By knowing your responsibilities and taking the right steps after an accident, you can protect your financial interests and minimize the impact on your insurance premiums.


After a car accident, I contacted David May at the Lagrange office. He, and his staff, helped me with medical advice and follow up doctors visits, along with dealing with my insurance and the insurance of the woman that hit me. I have been very pleased with the service I received from David May and the Lagrange staff. They are warm and open, always there to help with advice and answer questions.”

- Debau


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The Importance of Permission: What Happens When Someone Else Drives Your Car and Causes an Accident and You Didn’t Allow Them To?

Understanding the distinction between a permissive and non-permissive driver can help you navigate the complexities of insurance coverage and liability if someone else drives your car and gets into an accident. Here’s a detailed look at what these terms mean and how they can affect you.

What is a Permissive Driver?

A permissive driver is someone who has your explicit or implied consent to drive your car. This could be a family member, friend, or anyone else you’ve allowed to use your vehicle. When a permissive driver gets into an accident, the implications for insurance coverage and liability are relatively straightforward:

Insurance Coverage

Your auto insurance policy generally acts as the primary coverage, meaning it will cover damages up to the limits of your policy. If the damages exceed these limits, the driver’s insurance may serve as secondary coverage, stepping in to cover the additional costs.

Impact on Insurance Premiums

Even if the accident was caused by a permissive driver, it could still impact your insurance premiums. Insurance companies often increase rates after a claim, reflecting the heightened risk associated with your vehicle.

Legal and Financial Responsibility

As the vehicle owner, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your car is insured. If a permissive driver causes an accident, you could be held liable for any damages not covered by insurance.

What is a Non-Permissive Driver?

A non-permissive driver is someone who uses your car without your explicit or implied consent. This could be a stranger who stole your car or even a family member who took the vehicle without your permission. The implications of an accident caused by a non-permissive driver can be more complex:

Insurance Coverage

If it can be proven that the driver did not have permission, your primary insurance coverage might not cover the damages, often necessitating a detailed investigation and legal intervention. In such cases, the non-permissive driver’s insurance, if they have any, would be responsible for covering the damages. However, if the driver lacks insurance or sufficient coverage, you might have to seek compensation through legal means.

Legal and Financial Responsibility

If your car was used without permission, you might not be held liable for the accident. However, proving non-permissive use can be challenging and often requires substantial evidence, such as a police report indicating the car was stolen.

In cases where the driver is uninsured or underinsured, you might need to pursue a lawsuit against them to recover damages. This process can be lengthy and complicated, emphasizing the need for legal assistance.

Impact on Insurance Premiums

Even if the accident was caused by a non-permissive driver, there might still be an impact on your insurance premiums. Insurance companies consider various factors when adjusting rates, and the mere involvement of your vehicle in an accident can sometimes lead to higher premiums.

Why Permission Matters

Understanding why permission matters is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, insurance claims are typically designed to cover permissive use. If the driver had permission, your insurance will usually cover the damages, making the claims process more straightforward. Secondly, liability and legal implications hinge on whether the driver had permission. This distinction affects who is legally responsible for the damages, significantly influencing the outcome of any legal proceedings or lawsuits. Lastly, ensuring that only trusted individuals drive your car and understanding the terms of your insurance policy can help protect you from unexpected financial burdens.

Adam Princenthal

Attorney At Law

David May

Attorney At Law

Matthew Wilson

Attorney At Law

Understanding the implications of other drivers causing an accident in your car is crucial for navigating the legal and financial consequences. Whether the driver had your permission or not, the aftermath can be complex and challenging. Knowing how your insurance coverage works, the impact on your premiums, and your legal responsibilities can make a significant difference in how you manage the situation.

If you find yourself dealing with the repercussions of an accident involving another driver in your car, it’s essential to seek professional legal advice. At Princenthal, May & Wilson, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident where someone else was driving your vehicle, don’t navigate the complexities alone. Contact Princenthal, May & Wilson today for a free consultation. Let our experienced team of personal injury attorneys provide the support you need to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call us now or visit our website to schedule your consultation. We are here to help you every step of the way.