What Do I Do If Someone Else Was Driving My Car During A Car Accident?

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Many people occasionally allow a friend or family member to drive their car. However, they may be unsure who pays for what when an accident happens while someone else is driving their vehicle. The answer can vary depending on several factors.

Michigan No-Fault Auto Insurance


All Michigan auto owners must purchase no-fault auto insurance. If the person who was driving your car when the accident happened has auto insurance, they must file a claim with their own insurance for any injuries caused by the accident. 

What Does Michigan No-Fault Auto Insurance Cover?

Michigan no-fault benefits pay for medical expenses, household replacement services, lost wages, attendant care and travel expenses related to medical care. It may also pay for a vehicle or vehicle modifications if a person injured in a covered accident needs a special vehicle because of their injuries. Additionally, if someone dies because of a covered accident, no-fault benefits pay survivor loss benefits to the dependents of that person. 

What Happens If the Person Driving Your Car Does Not Have No-Fault Insurance?

If the person who was driving your car does not have no-fault insurance because they do not own a car, they can submit a claim for no-fault benefits with the auto insurance company of a relative that they live with. If they do not live with anyone who has no-fault auto insurance, then they may be able to claim no-fault coverage through your policy.

Can Someone Sue You If Someone Else Causes an Accident While Driving Your Car?

Under Michigan law, the vehicle owner is liable for injuries caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle as long as the person driving was driving the car with the owner’s permission. However, people injured by someone else’s negligence in a Michigan auto accident can only sue the responsible driver or vehicle owner in specific circumstances:

  • A person was killed, permanently disfigured or seriously injured.
  • The accident happened in another state.
  • One of the involved parties is a non-resident of Michigan occupying a vehicle not registered in the state.

Additionally, if the driver of your vehicle was 50% or more at fault, the owner of the other vehicle can file a mini-tort claim for up to $3,000 of property damage caused by the accident. The other driver can also sue for any medical expenses that exceed the limits of their no-fault coverage. 

The residual liability insurance coverage on your auto policy pays for injuries and property damage that you are legally liable to pay to another party up to the limits of your policy. You can purchase different amounts, but the default limits are:

  • Up to $250,000 per person injured or killed
  • Up to $500,000 per accident for people injured or killed
  • Up to $10,000 for property damage that happens in another state

Any amounts you owe that exceed your policy limits will come out of your pocket unless you have other applicable insurance. Your insurance policy may include optional coverage for limited property damage liability, which covers up $3,000 for property damage you owe due to a mini-tort claim against you.

If the Driver of Your Car Caused the Accident, Which Insurance Company Pays?

If the person driving your car was 50% or more at fault and has their own liability insurance, which company pays first depends on the terms of your insurance policy. Whichever company is primary will pay for damages up to the limits of the policy.

If the damages exceed the primary policy limits, then the secondary policy will pay for the rest, up to the limits of that policy. If the damages exceed the limits of both policies, you may have to pay out of pocket if there is no other applicable insurance.

What About the Damage To Your Car?

No-fault insurance does not cover damage to your car. The only time another party’s insurance covers damage to your car is if someone hits your car while it is properly parked. Otherwise, you will need to either pay for your damage out of pocket or use your collision coverage if you have it. 

If the person who was driving your car has collision coverage and you do not, then their policy may cover the damage to your car. If you both have collision coverage, then the policy that pays first depends on the terms of the policies. If the person who was driving your car was at fault for the accident and refuses to compensate you for your collision deductible or pay for your damages if there is no collision coverage, you may be able to file a mini-tort claim for up to $3,000.

Are There Times When No-Fault Insurance Does Not Cover Someone Else Driving Your Car?

Your insurance may not cover someone else driving your car if one of three exceptions applies:

  • The person did not have your permission to drive the car.
  • Your policy excludes the driver.
  • The driver lives in a state other than Michigan and does not own a car that is registered in Michigan.

Additionally, if you frequently allow someone, such as a family member living in your home or a roommate, to drive your vehicle but you do not have that person listed on your insurance policy, your insurance company may deny your claim if it determines that person should have been listed on the policy. To ensure you are adequately protected when someone else drives your car, you should notify your insurance company of anyone who frequently drives the vehicle and avoid allowing anyone who is not covered by your insurance to drive your car.

Steps To Take When Someone Else Is in an Accident While Driving Your Car


There are several steps you should take when a car accident happens while someone else is driving your car.

1. Get the Details

Find out what, when, where and how the accident happened. Ask if anyone in either vehicle was injured and what type of injuries they have. Find out what kind of damage the vehicles have. If your car was towed, ask where it was towed to. 

2. Document the Accident

Ask for the insurance and contact information for both vehicle drivers. If the driver of your vehicle took any photos, ask for copies. Ask for any other evidence the driver of your car gathered at the scene, such as contact information for witnesses and a copy of the police report or police report number. 

3. Notify Your Insurance Company

Even if the driver of your car has insurance, you should report the accident to your insurance company. If the person driving your car also has insurance, they should notify their insurance company as well. 

4. Talk To an Attorney

Michigan insurance law can be complex, particularly when someone else was driving your car. An attorney can help you decipher whether your insurance or the driver’s insurance will pay and whether you may have any personal liability exposure. 

How the Mike Morse Law Firm Can Help


The Mike Morse Law Firm is the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Our experienced car accident attorneys can help protect your rights and financial future when someone else gets in a car accident while driving your car. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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