What will happen if while driving a friend’s car I got into an accident?

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What will happen if while driving a friend’s car I got into an accident?

Before driving the car I was told by said friend that I had permission of the owner (him) and that the car was insured. I ended up getting a ticket for driving with no insurance and failure to reduce speed. I find out the car and the insurance was in his parents name, and that I would be unable to prove insurance using his insurance because his parents would not give permission or the insurance card for me to show to the court. After talking with a paralegal, my father told me that because my friend gave me permission, and told me that the car was insured (which it is), he would be held liable in court. Is there any truth to this?

Asked on March 24, 2013 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you had permission from someone who himself had access to/control over the car, you would not have done anything legally wrong in driving it and it is likely that a court would find that someone injured by you could sue the car's owners for damages. However, be advised that both the owner AND the person driving the car--that is, you--could be sued by anyone you injured; and if you are sued, the owner's insurance may not cover you (usually, people who borrow other's cars are covered under their own car insurance). That's because the owner's insurance is to protect him from lawsuits, not other people. If sued, therefore, be sure to retain an attorney to represent you--don't assume the owner's insurer will cover this for you. (And note: even if the owner's insurer does  pay, they would have the right to then sue you to recover their money, if you were at fault in how you drove.)


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