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What Happens When The Driver Of A Car Is Not The Owner

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


If you were in an auto accident where the at-fault driver wasn’t in their own car, you might be wondering who is ultimately responsible for the bill. Whose insurance do you call? The driver who was at fault for the crash has their own insurance, but the car’s owner has insurance too. The situation can become more complicated depending on each person’s insurance policy.

If you were injured in an accident, let a lawyer worry about determining whose insurance is liable.

Insurance Follows The Car

In many situations, the car owner’s insurance policy is responsible for the damages. This is particularly true if the person behind the wheel was an approved driver or a family member from the same household. When the person driving the car has permission to do so, the insurance policy follows the car and is the primary coverage for any accidents.

When the insurance follows the car, you file a third-party claim with the car owner’s insurance.

When The Driver’s Insurance Matters

There are multiple situations in which you would need to recover damages from the borrower’s insurance:

  • If your claim is covered by the car owner’s auto liability insurance but is more than the policy limit, the driver’s insurance should take care of the excess. Liability insurance is required by law, but the minimum required coverage may not be enough to pay for all of the expenses resulting from your injury.
  • If the driver took the car without permission, they are responsible for any incidents or damages caused by their actions. This doesn’t necessarily mean they would be charged with stealing the vehicle. It could be a family member from out of town believed they could use the car, but took it without explicit permission and without knowing they weren’t covered by insurance.
  • Additionally, if the car owner is uninsured, the driver’s insurance would be responsible.

In all of these situations, you’d file a third party claim with the driver’s auto insurer.

How A Lawyer Can Help

This type of situation can be incredibly confusing. It will matter whether the borrower was an approved driver and whether or not they had permission to take the car. The type of auto insurance and the policy limits will affect who you can recover from.

Instead of trying to manage this difficult situation yourself, work with a lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.. They have experience working with insurance companies in these types of accidents and will do what they can to ensure you’re compensated for your injuries. You should be able to recover for your property damage, past and future medical expenses, disability or disfigurement, as well as for your pain and suffering.

If you’re unable to settle with either of the insurers, the attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can advise you on going to court and whether or not you should file against only the driver or both the driver and car owner as defendants. Call a lawyer with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 or contact us online to learn more.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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