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Who is Responsible When Injuries are Caused by Someone Driving a Borrowed Car?

“Is it okay if I borrow your car?”

Teenagers are always asking to use the vehicle. You might lend your pick-up truck to a friend to buy lumber or maybe you borrow your boss’s van to pick up supplies. Because you have a second car, your brother might ask to borrow it, while his vehicle is in for repairs.

Things to consider before giving consent

A car accident can happen whether driving your own or a borrowed car, car accidents happen for many different reasons. Common causes include speeding, distracted driving, and unsafe lane changes. Unfortunately many car accident lawsuits involve drivers of borrowed cars that have resulted in serious personal injury or death.

When car accidents happen, the insurer of the at fault vehicle is obliged to pay accident benefits to injured victims. This provides financial compensation to cover the costs of rehabilitation and medical services as well as any other damages and losses suffered as a result of injuries.

If the driver of the vehicle was given either implied or expressed permission to use the car, the car owner’s insurance company is responsible to pay damages within the limits of the policy.

Insurance companies may be reluctant to settle the car accident injury claim when implied consent is in question. In most circumstances, unless the vehicle was proven stolen (and not part of a pattern), the law will assume expressed or implied consent.

What if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

“I lent the family car to my son and instructed him not to consume any alcohol before driving.”

Operating a Motor Vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a major offense which can lead to serious injury or death for an innocent victim.

Drunk-driving accidents are those where an operator that has a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit. In Ontario, the maximum legal blood alcohol count is 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood (0.08).

In Ontario “learner drivers” with a provisional drivers license are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system – regardless of their age. As of August 1st, 2012 all Ontario drivers 21 years old and under must maintain a blood alcohol level of zero when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Friends and family can give compelling arguments on why we should lend our car. We may want to help out if we can. Car owners are expected to make sure they give consent to only to drivers who are licensed and have proven themselves to be responsible. The car owner must refuse consent when the potential borrower has a proven history of alcohol abuse, drug abuse or irresponsible behavior. If he does give consent in spite of this knowledge, it is called “negligent entrustment.” If the owner of a car is found guilty of negligent entrustment, he can be held liable for injuries and damages resulting from the accident caused by the borrower.

Factors Influencing Fault

  • Was the person driving with a “learners permit” without supervision?
  • Was the driver under the influence of drugs, alcohol, impaired by prescription medication or a medical condition?
  • Did the driver have a suspended license?
  • Was the owner of the vehicle in the car?
  • Was permission or consent given or implied by the owner?
  • Was the use of borrowed car in some way assisting or benefiting the owner of the vehicle?
  • Was the driver legally licensed to drive in the province of Ontario?
  • Did the driver have a history of bad driving and prone to reckless behavior?

What happens if the car accident injury claim exceeds the insurance policy limit?

If the claim amount is not settled within the owner’s insurance policy limits, an excess judgment may be awarded post trial leaving the owner of the motor vehicle liable for the excess amount.

Car accidents go on the record of the owners insurance policy!

Owners need to be discretionary when deciding on who can borrow their car. They need to make certain that person who drives the car is licensed and will operate the vehicle responsibly. Anyone who lends their car should provide precise instructions regarding who is allowed to drive the vehicle.

The lawyers at the Kahler law firm pride themselves on personalized service, attention to detail, hard work, experience and compassion, with every case. The goal is to “ensure that every car accident victim receives the rehabilitation, insurance benefits and personal injury compensation he deserves.”

The Kahler law firm offers free car accident consultations and free case assessments. They will meet you at one of their offices, in your home, or hospital room. The Kahler Personal Injury Law Firm has offices in Toronto, Barrie and North Bay and represents serious car accident injury victims throughout the Province of Ontario.

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