Who Do You Sue if the Person Driving the Car that Hit You Isn’t the Owner?

If you get into a fender bender, there’s a good chance that the insurance company will pay your claim. But what if you don’t know whose insurance company you’re supposed to file a claim with? Sometimes, it’s not so clear. One of the situations when this happens is when the person driving the other car isn’t the owner of the car they’re driving. People lend their cars out for all sorts of reasons. Maybe their neighbor needed to borrow it to run an errand. Or, perhaps their daughter needed to use it while her car was in the shop.

You don’t really care why someone else was driving the car. You just worry about what’s going to happen to you. Who will pay your medical bills? Who will pay to have your car fixed?

The good news is that insurance follows the car, not the driver. So, no matter who’s driving the car that crashes into you, you will be able to file your insurance claim. Because these cases can get complicated, it’s a good idea to call a car accident lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Insurance Follows the Car – Not the Driver

It should give you some peace of mind to know that insurance follows the car, not the driver. This means that, for the most part, as long as the car owner has insurance, your claim should be paid. But that doesn’t mean it will be.

When someone buys car insurance, the company bases their rate on two things: (1) the driver’s accident history and driving record and (2) the type of car they own. This is why some cars cost more to insure than others.

However, there’s no guarantee that the insurance company will pay your claim. And, there’s no guarantee that the policy limits will cover all of your damages. Your Charlotte car accident lawyer will do their best to make sure your expenses are covered. This may mean you have to pursue multiple parties.

Why Would the Insurance Company Deny Your Claim?

Just because you file an insurance claim doesn’t mean it will be paid. The insurance company may deny your claim for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The policy wasn’t valid
  • The policy had lapsed for non-payment
  • The driver wasn’t listed on the policy
  • You didn’t file your claim in time
  • The insurance company doesn’t believe you were hurt
  • They think you caused the accident
  • You have a history of filing false claims

If the policy isn’t valid, there’s nothing your car accident lawyer can do to change that. However, if it’s denied for any of the other reasons, they can file an appeal. They’ll try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance adjuster.

There is one other option. If the owner’s insurance company denies your claim – possibly because someone else was driving – you have the option of pursuing the driver.

You Can File a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance Policy

Just because someone borrowed a car doesn’t mean they don’t carry their own auto insurance. In the examples we used here, both the neighbor and the owner’s daughter have a car. Their car just wasn’t working at the time of the crash.’

If the person driving the car has their own insurance policy, your Charlotte auto accident attorney can file a claim against their policy. This is also the case if the owner’s policy doesn’t cover all of your damages.

The final option would be to file a personal claim against the driver and the owner. This would work the same way as if you sued the insurance company. The problem is, it’s a lot harder to collect a judgment against a person than it is an insurance company.

If the owner or person driving the car has assets, you can always file a lien against their property. But if they don’t have any assets, you may have a worthless judgment. In cases like this, the judgment isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Call a Skilled Auto Accident Lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina

If you get hit by someone driving another person’s car, you can still file a legal claim. You should call and schedule your initial consultation with an experienced auto accident lawyer at Ted A Greve & Associates. The consultation is free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.