Oklahoma is an at-fault state for car accidents. That means the person who caused the collision may be liable for damages you sustained. You can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to pursue compensation. But what about situations where someone’s in a borrowed car, and they are responsible for the crash? Do you seek financial recovery from the borrower’s or vehicle owner’s insurance?
Where you file your claim will depend on the details. Most often, these matters are settled with the vehicle owner’s insurance. However, some circumstances exist where you may need to pursue compensation from the borrower’s insurance or the borrower themselves.
Regardless of which insurance policy applies to your accident case, you must prove fault to get the money you need for expenses and losses resulting from the collision. These are complicated matters typically requiring the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney.
What Car Insurance Covers?
Anyone who owns a car in Oklahoma must have the vehicle covered by insurance.
The law requires that people carry liability coverage for a minimum of:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident (more than one person injured)
- $25,000 property damage
If someone caused your motor vehicle accident, they are responsible for the damages you incurred. Damages include medical bills, pain/suffering, and vehicle repair expenses.
Generally, it’s not the vehicle owner who compensates you after the accident. It’s their insurance carrier. You file a third-party claim with the insurance company. It pays you for the damages you suffered up to the policy limits, provided that the insured is found to be at fault.
In cases involving a borrowed vehicle, whether you file your claim with the vehicle owner’s insurance or the borrower’s (the person responsible for the accident) depends on several factors.
Filing a Claim with the Vehicle Owner’s Insurance
Car insurance is purchased for the vehicle, not the owner. Thus, coverage follows the car.
If you are in an accident caused by someone who borrowed another person’s car (with permission), you would file a claim with the vehicle owner’s insurance, not the at-fault party. This is true even if the borrower has their own insurance coverage.
Of course, the specific language of the vehicle owner’s policy may affect the process you go through to seek compensation.
Filing a Claim with the Borrower’s Insurance
Depending on the situation, the vehicle borrower or their insurance carrier may be on the hook for damages they caused in an accident.
You may need to file a claim or lawsuit against the borrower if:
- Damages exceed the vehicle owner’s policy limits. Many drivers buy the minimum liability coverage for their cars. However, it’s not always enough to cover the total losses and expenses resulting from an accident. If someone were driving a borrowed car and caused a crash, the vehicle owner’s insurance would kick in first. But if damages go above the policy limits, you can file a claim with the borrower’s insurance. If the borrower is uninsured, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover any outstanding amount.
- Vehicle owner didn’t have insurance. Although Oklahoma law requires car owners to purchase at least minimum liability insurance, not all do. If the vehicle owner didn’t have insurance, but the borrower did, their policy should cover damages.
- Borrower didn’t have permission to use the car. The borrower might not have asked the vehicle owner before taking the vehicle. Generally, in cases involving non-permissive use, the borrower is liable for costs. You may seek financial recovery by filing a claim with the borrower’s insurance or a lawsuit against the borrower.
- Borrower listed as an excluded driver. The vehicle owner might have explicitly stated in their policy that a specific person is not entitled to use their car. If the excluded individual drives the vehicle regardless, the owner’s insurance would not cover damages.
How to Seek Compensation
As with any other car accident case, when a collision occurs with a borrowed vehicle, you must prove that the other party was at fault before obtaining financial recovery. Establishing responsibility requires that you demonstrate that the borrower’s negligence was the cause of your collision.
Therefore, it is critical that you:
- Exchange information with the other driver,
- Call emergency services,
- Get medical attention, and
- Fully document the accident scene.
Have an Attorney Help with Your Case
When pursuing just compensation after an accident, you must ensure that you submit your claim to the right place. You must also clearly and compellingly present your arguments that you are entitled to financial recovery. Because of the complexities involved in these matters, it is beneficial to enlist the assistance of a lawyer.At Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., we work diligently to seek justice for our clients in Norman. Speak with a member of our team by calling (866) 590-8173 or submitting an online contact form.