California has one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the United States.
Because of this, not everyone is compelled to buy their own cars.
If there is a need to use a car, people can just rent or borrow a car from a friend.
If you decide to rent, the car rental company usually have their cars properly insured to take care of expenses that may be caused by a car accident.
But if you decide to borrow a car from a relative or a friend and got involved in a car accident, then that is a different matter especially if you are the one at fault.

So what is your liability in a borrowed car accident?

  • Generally… None. If you borrow a car from someone and they gave you consent or permission, then under the law, he has agreed to take vicarious liability.
  • Vicarious liability makes one person liable for the actions of another person. So if you caused the accident with the car that you borrowed, the liability insurance coverage of the car owner should take care of the bodily injury and property damage expenses of the other parties involved. However, if the expenses exceed that of the liability coverage limit then that is when the other parties can come after you.
  • You will have to take care of the remaining costs that were not covered by the car accident insurance policy.

Who will take care of the borrowed car's repair?

  • If the car owner has collision or comprehensive insurance coverage then that should take care of the car repair costs.
  • If he does not, he can explore the option of trying to go after you (the driver), however under the law, it is still usually the registered owner of the vehicle who has to take care of the car repair costs.

What if the borrowed car got stolen?

  • If you borrowed a car then a thief stole it and went on to crash the vehicle, you or the owner do not have liability to the victims of the crash anymore.
  • Since you and the owner lost control of the vehicle due to the theft, then you could not have caused any car accident that would have followed.
  • The liable person in this case is obviously the thief.

If a person under my care borrowed a car from another person, can I be held liable?

  • Let's say that your son or your elderly dad borrowed a car from your neighbor without your knowledge and proceeded to crash the vehicle, you can be held liable for their actions because of vicarious liability.
  • Although the costs are usually covered thought the liability insurance of the owner, in some states you can be held responsible for the actions of anyone recognized by law to be under your care like the elderly, minors, and disabled persons.

To know more about the laws concerning borrowed car accidents, consult a Los Angeles car accident attorney for more details.