There it goes rolling down your driveway – your trusty car in the hands of a driver of undetermined trustworthiness.
If beads of sweat are forming on your brow, or if your toes are curling in your shoes with worry, it's probably a good sign you should flag down the driver and revoke your offer to loan your car, even if it's "only" a short trip.
Better to engage in this temporarily awkward encounter than to suffer the stress, inconvenience and financial risk that could ensue if that person gets into an accident in your car. The truth is: there are some people you just shouldn't lend your car to. Here's why:
Consider the logistics of car accidents
It's true, traffic accidents hinge on who is at fault for the accident. If someone is responsible for causing an accident, he or she probably will be found at fault for it. But it's equally true it's sometimes possible to be held responsible for an accident if you aren't present at the time of an accident – cases that hinge on "mitigating circumstances." Unfair as it may sound, you could be held liable for the driving mistakes of others, especially if it can be proven you were aware of the potential for these mistakes before you put your trusty vehicle in the hands of someone else.
Then there is the issue of insurance. You might think loaning your vehicle is a safe choice because your car insurance policy covers the car, not the person driving it. Unless someone is specifically excluded from coverage on your car, this is true. But if someone driving your car rear-ends another driver, under the terms of your liability coverage, you still would be required to:
- File a claim with your insurance company
- Pay the specified deductible
- Pay any ensuing rate increases because of the accident
While these steps can be both time-consuming and potentially expensive, there could be more trouble in your rear-view mirror if the damages exceed the limits stipulated in your car insurance policy. In this case, the driver's insurance coverage might pay the difference – if the person is insured.
Put on the brakes
For all reasons, it makes sense to avoid these risks altogether and decline putting your vehicle in the hands of:
- Drunken drivers, for whose actions behind the wheel you could be held accountable.
- Underage or unlicensed persons, Anyone driving must have a valid driver’s license.
- Elderly persons, especially those who are in declining health or are dependent on medications impairing their responsiveness behind the wheel.
- Sickly persons, even if they ask to use your car to get the medication they need to feel better. If you can't make the trip yourself, better to hire a service to deliver the medication to your door.
- Employees performing job-related duties, in which case you, as the employer, will be held responsible for damages stemming from an accident.
- Incompetent, irresponsible or otherwise unfit drivers – the kind who inspire beads of sweat and toe-curling anxiety. Follow your gut instincts; if the thought of loaning your car causes you anxiety, keep your car keys in your pocket.
Despite your best efforts to protect it, your car could be involved in an accident at some point, in which case it's vital you marshal the best attorneys in Nevada to your side. You can find them at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez. Their experience in handling car accident cases is unparalleled. Be sure to read their helpful guide, “6 Questions to Ask About Your Car Insurance,” before you roll down your driveway to meet them for a consultation that will put your mind at ease.