Did You Know – You May Be Liable for Another Driver’s Negligence?

Giving Encouragement

Your daughter, Kaya, is in town and since she couldn’t get to Cape Town with her car, you lend your vehicle since she wants to enjoy a road trip with her friends. She’s a responsible and cautious driver, so you have no second thoughts about lending her your ‘baby.’ You hand over the keys and spend the weekend relaxing at your favourite resort.

On Sunday, you receive a frantic call from your lawyer informing you that your daughter was caught in a fairly serious accident. Relieved to hear that Kaya and her friends came out unharmed, your next thought goes to the potential repercussions for you. After a few consultations with your lawyer, you realize that you’re liable for your daughter’s negligence1.

If you haven’t found yourself in this situation yet, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you understand how you might be liable for another driver’s negligence.

Damaged Vehicle

Demystifying Negligent Entrustment

In the event of a collision, one of the first things a car insurance company does before processing an insurance claim2is investigating who’s liable for the accident. The insurance firm considers the police report describing the conditions that led to the crash and the actions of the drivers involved to figure out who’s responsible for the vehicle damages.

Car accident claims can be challenging to solve, especially since no two accident cases are the same. Even when complying with the rules of the road can land you in trouble with your auto insurance company. According to experts, most drivers mistakenly believe that if they had the right of way in the event of a collision, they can’t be held liable for the negligence of other drivers.

It’s because all the road users, by law, have the obligation of avoiding a collision with another car or lower the severity of an accident should one seems to be forthcoming.  

Car Traffic

Negligence Cases Scenarios

 Some of the most common negligence scenarios include:

  • When you switch lanes and, in a lapse of judgement, collide with another driver
  • When you, or another driver, enter a roadway from a yield or governed access ramp, and hits another vehicle
  • When a car driver merges into traffic as their lane ends and causes a collision
  • When another driver doesn’t stop at a Stop Sign or Red traffic light and drives into the path of other motorists

In these circumstances, there isn’t much time o argue who’s liable for the accident. When you drive into a lane of moving traffic and strikes another vehicle, you’d, in most cases, be the one liable for the accident. Nevertheless, if a car ignored the red light, some or all of the liability3 might be shifted away from the negligent driver.

In other cases, other road users are obliged to avoid accidents with the negligent driver’s car in so far as is realistically expected. In such a case, they should keep their ride under control. So, driver B, who didn’t adhere to the rules, might be responsible for a percentage of the blame and could be expected to pay for the vehicle damages to driver A. Moreover, compensation to driver A might be higher if the automobile is more costly than that of driver B.

If in another instance, the court rules that driver A is liable for 80% of driver B’s second-hand car, the latter will be required by law, to cater for the 30% placed towards the damages incurred by the negligent driver’s vehicle.  

Other Scenarios

Other negligence scenarios include:

  • When a driver falls asleep behind the wheel and hits another vehicle
  • When a driver suffers from a heart attack and blacks out when they’re on the road

In these cases, the negligent driver might be exempt from the responsibility since there was no reason to expect the event. For a driver to be held accountable for their actions, they have to act voluntarily or negligently.

Even with these set rules, experts warn that the negligent driver shouldn’t think that a defence of ‘I was asleep’ is a sure way of getting off the hook. It’s because it can be challenging for the leading driver to acquiesce legal evidence that he/she wasn’t partly liable.  

Orange Car

Scenario

  • Driver A doesn’t stop at a Stop Sign at a T-intersection. Driver B, as part of the oncoming traffic with the right of way, doesn’t accomplish their duty to avoid the crash and is hit by driver A. The force of the collision pushes driver B into driver C, who’s parked on the side of the motorway.  

In the event where an innocent third-party is involved, driver C will only have to provide proof that driver B contributed to 1% of the collision to bring forth a 100% motor insurance claim against driver B.

Even though it can be a migraine thinking about, the truth is, you and another driver will end up with an outcome that’s less favourable in the case of a collision. So, since it’s always better to have an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure, having a reliable and affordable car insurance policy can come in handy in such cases. It’ll primarily be beneficial to have the third-party car insurance policy which protects you from financial losses due to damage to another driver’s car.

 If you’re looking for the best auto insurance policy, you can try checking car insurance quotes online and find the best deal for your situation, and when you find it, you might want to know how to cancel your insurance policy so you can make the change.

John Duckett
John Duckett

John helps individuals get the best deal on car insurance. He advises on how to match client needs with budget and successfully negotiates with insurance houses to exceed client expectations. Working in the online space is his passion, he loves to share his knowledge on insurance and keeps an updated blog.

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