Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | September 13, 2022 | Car Accidents
The unthinkable happens, and you don’t know what to do. You borrow someone else’s car, and another driver hits you while you are driving the borrowed vehicle. Understanding what to do if another driver hits you while you are driving someone else’s car in Florida can help protect your rights and reduce panic and stress.
Report the Car Accident to the Police Immediately
You should take the same steps you would take after a car crash while driving your own vehicle. First, call 911 to report the accident to the police and wait on emergency responders to arrive.
Other things you need to do include:
- Take photographs and make a video of the accident scene and the property damage to each vehicle.
- Ask anyone who witnessed the accident or stopped to provide assistance for their names and telephone numbers.
- Do not admit fault for the cause of the accident, but always be honest when answering the officer’s questions about the crash.
- Avoid saying you are okay or fine after the accident. Instead, tell EMS personnel that you intend to follow up with your doctor if you do not believe you need to go to the emergency room.
- Notify the vehicle owner as soon as possible about the crash. Provide the owner with copies of the documents the police officer gave you at the accident scene.
- Seek legal advice from a car accident lawyer before you talk to the insurance adjuster or insurance company about the accident.
You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages, depending on the cause of the accident. If you are unsure what to do next, ask a car accident attorney for help.
Filing a No-Fault Insurance Claim After an Accident While Driving Another Person’s Car
Florida requires vehicle owners to maintain at least $10,000 in PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance coverage. PIP coverage is a type of no-fault insurance. Therefore, the vehicle owner should have PIP coverage, and you should have PIP coverage if you own a vehicle.
PIP covers the owner of the vehicle and:
- Their family members living with them
- The driver of the vehicle
- Passengers in the vehicle
- Pedestrians and bicyclists struck by the vehicle
No-fault insurance pays benefits to covered individuals regardless of who caused the car accident. Therefore, even though you were driving a borrowed vehicle, you should be able to file a PIP claim.
Personal Injury Protection insurance pays for some of your medical bills and lost wages. You could receive reimbursement for up to 80% of your medical bills if you sustained serious injuries. You may also receive compensation for up to 60% of your lost income.
However, you must seek medical treatment for injuries within 14 days from the accident date to receive benefits. Ask the vehicle owner for their insurance information so you can file a PIP claim.
Filing a Claim Against the Driver Who Caused a Florida Car Accident
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws allow accident victims to file insurance claims and sue other drivers when the injuries sustained are especially serious. Otherwise, your only source of compensation after a car accident is your no-fault insurance coverage.
Florida Statute §627.737 describes serious injuries as permanent impairments, loss of bodily function, disfigurement, or death. Therefore, you could pursue a claim against the driver who hit you if you sustained serious injuries.
However, you have the burden of proving the other driver caused the accident and the accident resulted in your injuries and damages. You will need sufficient evidence proving the legal elements of negligence to recover money for a personal injury claim.
Also, if you were partially to blame for causing the car crash, the insurance company for the other driver may allege contributory fault.
Under Florida’s pure comparative fault law, you can still recover compensation for damages even if you share some of the blame for causing the car accident. However, the court reduces the money you receive by the percentage of your fault. Therefore, if the jury finds you were 25% at fault for causing the car wreck, you only receive 75% of the award for damages.
Damages You Can Recover if You Are Hit While Driving Someone Else’s Car
If you file a claim against the driver who hit you and you win your claim, you could receive damages for:
- The past and future cost of your medical treatment and care
- The value of your loss of income and benefits
- The past and future cost of therapies, nursing care, and personal care
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses and costs
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent impairments, disfigurement, scarring, and disability
- Diminished earning capacity
Numerous factors impact the amount you receive for a car accident claim. However, you can help maximize the value of your injury claim by seeking legal advice as soon as possible after the crash.