What alternatives have I if my auto insurance doesn't cover another injured driver's medical expenses?

Asked about 5 years ago - Palos Verdes Estates, CA

Someone borrowed my car and had an accident causing substantial medical expenses to another driver. My insurance only covers $100,000, which is less than the expenses. The other driver has his own medical coverage.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brian Richard Dinday

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . The worries about liability over your $100K insurance limits are really the permissive driver's worries, not yours. Your liability (aside from damage to you car) can be $15,000 by statute, just because you are the owner. Your insurance will cover that. The only way you could be liable for more than that is if you somehow KNEW the person you loaned your car to was dangerous as a driver. For example, if he was drunk when you loaned it; perhaps even if he was a habitual alcoholic with a history of DUI convictions & you knew it. Other than such facts and the limited statutory liability, you are not liable for his negligence.

    To make sure you understand this: Driver can be sued for his negligence. Suppose the case is tried and the judgment is for $500,000. Because you gave him permission to drive your car, your insurance policy covers you AND him for this accident; UP TO $100,000 (You as owner and him as driver). You have a possible judgment against you for only $15,000 on the automatic owner's statutory liability, which will be paid out of your auto insurance coverage, leaving $85,000 coverage to partially pay the judgment against the driver. This would leave you owing nothing and him owing $425,000 on his judgment.

    I hope this clears it up for you.

  2. Norman Gregory Fernandez

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . I am again wondering why Alan a Chicago, ILL attorney is posting on California legal issues and giving advice on California law when he is not licensed to practice law in California.

    With respect to your question; you are probably only liable for up to 15k unless there is a negligent entrustment issue. Let you insurance company deal with it for now.

  3. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Insurance coverage is a method of paying a judgment. The amount of insurance coverage an individual chooses bears no relationship to the amount of a judgment that might be entered against you.

    Does the permissive user of your vehicle have insurance? If so chase it. Report the accident to your insurer and cooperate with your assigned counsel.

    You should call a lawyer if you want to protect assest of yours over and above the policy limits. Many attorneys in your area will provide you a free consulation to discuss in more detail your circumstance. The phone call is a recommended way for you to explore more options you may have including whether more can be made about your position.

    Good luck to you.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the non CA lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed CA professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an atttorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.

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