What to do if my friend drove my vehicle and he was involved in an at-fault accident?
Question Details: The other driver is making a claim on my insurance policy. She approached a lawyer stating that she was injured and her car is not repariable. My friend drove the vehicle without my permission. I had a conversation with my insurance company as I was not the driver but it's of no use. Moreover, I don't want to claim on my insurance as he drove the vehicle without my permission. However, he misguided the insurance people saying that I was in the car and also told them that I'm his brother. This wrong because I was out of the state and am not his brother. He then proceeded to claim on my insurance. How do I resolve all of this?
A car's owner is liable for the accidents of those who had permission to drive his/her car. In this context, "permission" means "did not steal"--anyone whom you did not report for theft and look to file/press charges against for auto theft is considered a permitted driver. Therefore, the only way you may be able to escape liability is to go to the police, file a report, look to press charges--and follow through on helping to prosecute (e.g. testifying against) your friend (if you don't actually follow through on charges, it will look like you were trying to commit a form of fraud by lying about what happened). IF it appears that your friend did in fact steal your car, you (and therefore your insurer) is not liable for any accident. Of course, you may not be willing to try to send your friend to jail.
Your other option is to accept the consequences of your friend taking your car and getting into an accident, but then sue him to recover any loses, costs, etc. you thereby incur: since he was the driver, he would be liable for the amounts he causes you to lose or pay.