What Happens if Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident in New Jersey?

November 26, 2018 | Chris Costello, Esq.
There are few events more concerning than an auto collision. The situation surrounding a car accident can seem confusing and disorienting. If someone else is driving and gets in an accident with your vehicle, you may feel even more disoriented without the facts. If you’re unsure how to proceed in the event of an accident, here is the basic information you need to know about a car accident in New Jersey. Not only will you be prepared for this possibility, you may be able to make choices today that could help prevent it from happening in the future.

What Happens If Someone Else Wrecks My Car?

Obviously, your first concern should be for the welfare of the individuals involved in the accident. Ensure that any parties involved have received adequate medical attention. Your next step should be sorting out insurance coverage. Do you know who is allowed to drive your car? Typically, any person who is living in your house is covered as a driver for your vehicle. Check your specific policy to be sure this is the case.

Insurance Follows the Vehicle, Not the Driver

Anyone who has received your permission to drive your car can also be covered by permissive use. Most people wrongly believe that the driver’s insurance will cover any damage done to their vehicle. However, as the car owner, your insurance policy covers your vehicle and any approved driver.

Despite popular belief, insurance follows the vehicle. There are only a few instances where your insurance doesn’t cover an accident involving your vehicle. Whether you’re behind the wheel or not, your insurance follows your car. Compare and contrast insurance types in New Jersey to see if you have the right coverage if someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage, like all other auto insurance options in New Jersey, is available from a licensed insurance provider. Bodily injury liability and property damage liability are the two main types of liability coverage.

Even if you weren’t personally involved in the accident, your bodily injury liability coverage may be used if the driver was at fault. This basic coverage can vary from $15,000 per person to $250,000 per person. Your property damage liability could also be used if the driver of your vehicle is at fault. This coverage can range from $5,000 per accident to more than $100,000 per accident. New Jersey also requires up to $250,000 in coverage for very severe injuries.

It’s important to know how your liability coverage works and what the limits are. You could be liable for any accident involving your vehicle, so be sure you understand these risks before letting anyone, even friends and family, drive your vehicle.

Basic or Standard Policy?

The minimum required rates in New Jersey are considered a basic policy. However, you can also increase your liability coverages with a standard policy. A premium policy like this not only gives you more coverage in every area of liability when you’re driving your vehicle, but it will also protect you when another driver is involved in a car accident while driving your vehicle.

Collision Coverage

While liability insurance is required for New Jersey vehicles, collision coverage is an option you can include for more protection. Whether the car accident involves another vehicle or an object, collision coverage will protect any permitted driver. Collision coverage is a great option for protecting your investment, particularly when combined with comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage

If your vehicle is damaged in almost any way while it isn’t being driven, collision coverage won’t likely protect you. To protect your vehicle from incidents like theft, flooding or a broken windshield, you need comprehensive coverage. This insurance option isn’t required in New Jersey, but can be an important way to repair your vehicle and avoid major expenses.

Right To Sue

Whether you are driving your vehicle, you also need to consider your right to sue if another driver is at fault in an accident involving your car. With insurance coverage, you’ll need to choose from the available right to sue options:

  • Unlimited right to sue: This coverage typically comes with a higher premium but gives more options in the event of an injury or damages.
  • Limited right to sue: This option, which is the only one available with a basic policy, only gives you the right to sue in the event of a major injury or death.

Best Insurance Coverage

To protect yourself from liability and additional expenses in the event of a car accident, be sure you have up-to-date liability coverage, and consider collision coverage as well. Never let an uninsured or unlicensed driver operate your vehicle. Regardless of the driver’s insurance, your policy should cover any accident when your vehicle is at fault. If your vehicle hasn’t been in an accident yet, consider upgrading your liability coverage to ensure maximum protection.

Can I Be Sued if Another Driver Is Liable?

Not only does insurance coverage follow the vehicle, but so can liability. If your vehicle is at fault for a car accident, then you could be held liable. This not only means you’ll have to fill out an insurance claim and pay a deductible, it means you’re at risk of being sued. Whether you were driving or not, as the car owner you’re responsible for any damages done by the vehicle as long as it’s being driven by an approved driver. If you’re being sued by another driver, consider enlisting legal assistance. Costello Law Firm can help you review your options and take action.

After the Wreck: Call Costello Law Firm

If you’re still wondering, “What happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident?” contact Costello Law Firm today. From liability questions to complex white collar defense, you can receive expert advice and litigation from a team of highly trained attorneys and litigators. Whether your vehicle has but you may also in an accident, or you’re looking to reduce the risk of this tragic event, be sure you have the proper information and insurance coverage today.

Chris Costello, ESQ.

Chris Costello, ESQ.

Chris handles matters in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is an active member of the New Jersey Association for Justice as well as the Burlington County Bar Association. As a Burlington County personal injury lawyer, Mr. Costello has served as chairman of the Burlington County Bar Association Personal Injury Committee and lectured on topics related to auto accidents and insurance law.
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