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What happens when the person who caused the accident is not the owner of the car?

My name is Paula McCandlis and I’m an attorney and partner with the law office of Brett Murphy. 

I’ve seen clients who’ve ask me:

 “What happens if the person who caused this car accident is not the owner of the car?”

And I see this in three instances:

The first is where it’s an employee/employer situation. The employee is driving the car and the employer owns the car. We look to make sure the employee was operating the car through the normal course of their work; they weren’t running any personal errands and in that instance we would look to see that the employer is responsible for the accident.

In the second instance it’s called the family car doctrine. Here a household member or a child has been given permission in use of the family car and they have gone out and caused an accident.  In that type of situation we look to the owner of the car to be responsible for whatever damages have occurred in that type of accident.

The third instance occurs where a person has asked maybe a friend or neighbor to use their car, they were given permission to use a car, and they go out and cause an accident.  The person who owns the car would be responsible for whatever happens in that accident.

If you’ve been in an accident and you have questions like these, please feel free to give us a call. These are complex cases and we are more than happy to help you. You can reach us by calling 1-800-925-1875 or by completing our contact form.