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borrowed car accident | liability to owner of the car

by George

My daughter is being sued for an accident. Her boyfriend was driving her car when the accident occurred. He had permission to drive the car, has a license and insurance for his car.

My daughter had insurance (AAA) under my policy. Should AAA provide a lawyer? Am I or is my daughter liable?


Hello George, Sorry to hear about the lawsuit.

Your daughter is being sued? Hum, we are trying to figure out why. Technically speaking (actually legally speaking), your daughter was not negligent for the accident. If she was a passenger, it was not her negligence that caused the accident. The driver caused the accident.

That is of course, unless your daughter contributed in anyway to the accident (took the steering wheel or in some matter contributed to the accident). 99% of the time, passengers are innocent, and in fact, if your daughter had any injury, should could potentially have a claim against her boyfriend.

Ok with that being said. We know that your daughter is NOT liable (again unless she had something to do with the actual accident). Are you liable?

Well, no. you did not cause the accident. You could be liable (and your daughter) if you knew that the boyfriend was a negligent driver and decided to give him the keys (negligent entrustment), or you knew he had been drinking and gave him the keys. To be liable you must have done something wrong that caused the damages. In the brief description, it does not appear to be the case.

Should AAA provide a lawyer? This is an interesting scenario because of who is getting suit. The auto policy only provides coverage for "an insured." Is your daughter an insured?

The Omnibus clause of the insurance policy provides coverage for any person in the vehicle. (some polices say any driver however, so you need to look at your policy). The driver (boyfriend) will be an insured under the policy for his negligence. Your daughter is a innocent passenger so depending on the language of the policy, she might or might not be cover.

However, there could also be coverage under the "resident of the household" definition of insured. Insured could be defined as any one residing with you. Is she leaving at home? Depending on that, she might be covered.

You are the policy holder, so you are always covered.

Hope it helps,

Good Luck,

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