It is a popular scene is many movies and television shows. The lone driver on a dark night driving down a two-lane road. Suddenly, another car appears on camera and it forces the driver of the first car off the road. The driver of the first car often averts disaster by applying a few techniques typically reserved for NASCAR drivers.
In most cases, having someone run you off the road involves driver negligence. Distraction, a vehicle that blew a tire, or a driver that cannot handle poor weather conditions are all reasons for this type of accident. Liability, although not set in stone, should fall on the driver of the other car. What happens to the liability question when you were run off the road while driving someone else’s car?
Damages Caused by an Run Off the Road Accident
The aftermath of an run off the road accident varies depending on the speed of the car that hit you, as well as the layout of the surrounding area. For example, a car moving at a slow rate of speed that ran your car into a farmer’s field probably left no more than a few scratches on the vehicle and the passengers inside the car.
More serious run off the road accidents can cause tremendous damage to a car, from collapsing the roof to blowing one or more engine gaskets. Physical injuries range from strong head impacts that trigger a concussion to severely cracked ribs that make it almost impossible to breathe without feeling intense pain.
Are You Liable for an Run Off the Road Accident?
The answer to this question seems clear. The driver who ran you off the road should assume full responsibility. However, when you drive someone else’s vehicle and then end up in a car accident, the question of insurance liability becomes much less clear. In general terms, the owner of the vehicle is liable for insurance-related issues, such as paying for car damage. If you and/or a passenger received serious personal injuries, then the insurance liability question takes a different turn.
Most insurance policies include what is called a “permission” clause that places the burden on the owner of the vehicle because he or she granted permission to a friend, family member, or professional colleague to drive the vehicle that was involved in a run off the road accident.
On the other hand, if you drove someone else’s car, without first gaining permission to drive the car, then the onus for insurance liability probably falls on you.
What to Do in the Aftermath of a Run Off the Road Accident
How to handle a run off the road accident is similar to how you should handle a phantom driver car incident. Seeking medical attention immediately for treating serious injuries should be your first priority. If you sustained minor injuries, then you need to find witnesses to the vehicle accident that can identify the make and model of the other car, as well as provide a license plate number.
Since the incident is considered a crime because the other driver left the scene, you need to get law enforcement involved to file a formal accident report with either your insurer or the car owner’s auto insurance company.
Above all, make sure to contact a state licensed liability attorney to help you organize the paperwork required for submission to an insurance company. Most liability lawyers schedule free initial consultations with new clients.