Permissive use is a term not often heard in accident cases. If you suffer an Augusta, GA accident caused by another driver, you can seek compensation by proving the other driver’s liability. However, establishing liability is not always straight-forward. This is particularly the case when the other driver doesn’t own the vehicle and has instead borrowed it from the actual owner. In such a situation, an Augusta car accident lawyer may be able to help with seeking a fair amount of damages.
When a driver, who owns the vehicle, operates the vehicle and causes a crash, the process for seeking damages is relatively simple. You gather the relevant evidence which indicates the other driver’s fault, and then seek damages from the driver’s insurance company. If there is substantial evidence to support your claim, you are very likely to be able to get a fair compensation.
If a person other than the vehicle owner operates it and causes an accident, things become more complicated. In such a scenario, the legal concept known as ‘Permissive Use’ comes into play. Here is a look at what it is and how it applies to Augusta accidents.
What is Permissive Use?
Permissive use is when the owner of a vehicle allows another person to operate the vehicle. It is important to note here that different insurers may define the ownership of a vehicle differently. Some insurance companies hold that the person whose name is on the registration of a vehicle is its legal owner. Therefore, only this person is authorized to allow permissive use of the vehicle for another non-owner.
Yet some insurers hold that if a person regularly operates and maintains a vehicle, that person will be regarded as the legal owner of the vehicle. This will apply even if the person is different from the person listed on the vehicle’s registration. In such a case, this person who routinely operates the vehicle is the one who can give permission for permissive use of the vehicle.
Crashes Involving a Permissive User
If a person who has been authorized by a vehicle owner operates that vehicle and causes a crash, the following insurance rules will apply:
- If the vehicle owner has purchased collision coverage or comprehensive insurance covering the vehicle, these will apply to the vehicle even when the permissive user was driving.
- In case of losses to another driver, liability insurance coverage will be required. The liability insurance coverage of the owner of the vehicle will first be used to cover a potential victim’s losses. These losses may include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more.
- If the owner’s liability insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover the victim’s losses, the insurance coverage of the permissive user will also be used.
- If the combined insurance limits of the owner and permissive user are not sufficient to cover the losses, the owner will then be required to pay up the remaining amount.
Permissive Use and Vicarious Liability
When you allow a person to operate a vehicle, that person becomes a legally entitled driver of that vehicle. If the driver then crashes the vehicle resulting in property damage, injury, or death, you can be held vicariously liable. Likewise, if you suffer damages caused by a permissive user of a vehicle, you can seek damages directly from the owner under vicarious liability.
This doctrine is very relevant in crashes caused by permissive users. This is because a permissive user typically does not carry sufficient insurance to cover crash-related losses. If you had to seek your losses from the driver alone, you may not be able to recoup the full extent of your damages. Vicarious liability allows you to seek damages from both the owner and the driver, until your damages are satisfied.
Things work differently when a person who was not authorized to operate a vehicle, takes it and causes a crash while driving it. It may still be possible to show the owner’s negligence in properly safeguarding the vehicle. However, vicarious liability is harder to establish in such a case.
How Can an Augusta Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
If you have been injured or suffered property damage in an Augusta crash caused by another driver, you deserve to receive full compensation. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we work with you to identify the liable party and seek a claim for damages without losing any time. If the crash was caused by a permissive user, our lawyers utilize the vicarious liability principle to ensure that your losses are fully recouped. Get in touch with us today to discuss your Augusta crash claim with our lawyers.