Who is liable for compensating me for my injuries in a car accident—the driver or the owner?

woman handing car key to man

Your claim for compensation for your injuries is more complicated if the driver of the auto that struck yours was not its owner. In Virginia, the negligent motorist is responsible for compensating you if you were hurt in the car accident. However, you may also have a claim against the vehicle’s owner.

Which Insurance Company Should You File a Claim With If a Non-Owner Caused Your Auto Crash?

A car insurance policy attaches to a vehicle and its driver. This means that the owner’s insurance company would be primarily responsible for paying you the damages you deserve if they gave the driver permission to use their car. You could also file a claim with the driver’s insurance company if the owner’s coverage was insufficient to compensate you fully.

How to Hold the Owner Responsible for Your Injuries

Although the owner’s insurance policy would cover your auto wreck even if they were not in the vehicle, they would not be personally responsible for compensating you unless you could pursue a negligent entrustment claim against them. The owner could be liable if you can prove the following:

  • The driver had the express or implied consent of the owner to use their vehicle.
  • The owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to the driver. To establish this, you would need to show that they knew or should have known that allowing the driver to drive their car created an unreasonable risk of harm to others because the driver was unable to operate the motor vehicle safely.
  • The negligent entrustment of the car was the direct cause of your injuries.

Were you injured in a car accident where the negligent driver was not the motor vehicle owner? You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who will identify all the negligent parties responsible for compensating you and fight with their insurance companies so you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement. If your collision was in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.