Driving someone else’s car can be a convenient option, especially in situations where your own vehicle is unavailable. However, it’s important to understand the insurance implications of doing so. In this blog post, we’ll explore the question: Can I drive someone else’s car without insurance? We’ll discuss the risks involved and how a Florida attorney can help.
Under Florida law, state statutes state that the owner’s coverage must apply if you have an accident while driving someone else’s car. In other words, any policy issued to a vehicle owner (not a driver) will apply to anyone who drives it (except when they’re out of state).
Under Florida’s “dangerous instrumentality” doctrine, the car’s owner will be held liable for damages the vehicle caused. In other words, they are responsible for the damage their car causes if it’s involved in a collision and leads to another driver’s injuries, even if you were driving the vehicle at the time.
However, this typically only applies if they expressly permit you to drive their car. If the vehicle owner enabled you to use the car and their insurance does not explicitly exclude you, their policy should cover your accident.
Giving Permission to an Uninsured or Unlicensed Driver Is a Crime
Florida law deems it illegal to let an unlicensed driver operate your vehicle. Driving around with a friend who isn’t licensed can result in hefty fines of up to $500 and two months of jail time. Florida Statute 322.36 states that someone who is not permitted to drive cannot operate their vehicle on any public street or highway.
This means that if you allow an unlicensed driver to drive your vehicle or let the driver operate while you are a passenger, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
Penalties for Permitting an Unauthorized Driver
In Florida, second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by:
- Up to 2 months in jail.
- Up to 6 months of probation.
- The penalty of up to $500.
If the driver causes an accident in your vehicle, they could be criminally complicit in the crime. There are multiple defenses to this charge. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on this matter.
Does it Matter Who Was at Fault For The Accident?
Florida is a no-fault state, so if someone else caused the auto accident and you have PIP insurance, no matter who was to blame for the crash, you’ll be compensated. However, in some cases, severe injuries allow you to step outside of no-fault laws and go after damages from another driver or insurance company.
If you were injured in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, that person’s insurance might cover the costs of your severe or permanent injuries and damages, like:
- Reduced wages
- Upcoming medical costs
- Distress and suffering
If you have car insurance on your vehicle, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage should also cover the accident. PIP coverage will only apply if the vehicle owner does not have insurance at the time of the accident and carries a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. Injury-related expenses paid by PIP can include:
- The owner of the car;
- The members of their family;
- Passengers without a personal vehicle;
- Drivers who borrow the vehicle with the owner’s permission.
Comparative Fault in a Car Accident
Even if you were partially at fault for the car crash, we could still recover some damages on your behalf using comparative negligence law.
As long as you stick to Florida Statutes §768.81, you will be entitled to up to 80% of your total damages if you were less than 50% at fault for the wreck. If this applies to you, we can help determine your fault percentage and what that means for your recovery.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney in Florida Help You?
Florida law dictates that for most accidents, each person’s insurance policy covers the injuries and damages incurred. However, suppose someone else caused your accident, and your injuries are more severe than a $10,000 limit will allow. In that case, you may have grounds for filing a legal claim to recover some additional compensation.
If you need help, we’re here to provide it. We start by scheduling a complimentary case evaluation and discussing the details with our intake manager. Then, based on the information we hear, we’ll offer suggestions for the next steps — including representing you in your case.
- Request protection under the auto insurance policy.
- Consult your insurance about coverage.
- Defend the negligent driver by bringing a claim or lawsuit.
Your injuries must be substantial, life-threatening, or permanent to file a serious injury claim against another driver. Alternatively, you may have legal standing to seek further damages if you have lost a finger, limb, organ, or the function of a portion of your body. Our team can work to help you prove the severity of your injuries and the number of damages you qualify to recover.
Contact Our Office
Can I drive someone else’s car without insurance? The Law Offices of Pacin Levine, P.A. have highly qualified and experienced legal professionals that handle all aspects of your claim, case, or lawsuit in Florida. If you have been injured, aggrieved, or require legal assistance in the State of Florida, contact us today at 1-800-247-2727 for a free case review.