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When Loaning a Car Can Lead to Liability

Lady that is on the phone trying to figure out who is liable for damages in a car crash pictured

Victims of serious accidents aren’t just left with severe injuries and pain; they’re often left with enormous medical bills, sometimes without the ability to pay them if they’re unable to return to work. When accidents leave victims in dire need of compensation, a skilled personal injury attorney can investigate and pursue all possible sources of compensation on their behalf. Many accident victims don’t realize that, when accidents were caused by a driver in a borrowed car, the victim may have a claim against the vehicle’s owner. Read on to learn about claims against a car’s owner after a crash, and contact a New York auto accident attorney with any questions.

Permissive use and New York Auto Accidents

In New York, a principle known as the “permissive use doctrine” governs liability for vehicle owners when their car was involved in a crash without them in it. This principle, found in § 388 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, states that owners are liable for injuries or damage caused by their vehicles to other people or property. This is true even if the person driving the car was not the owner, but instead was someone whom the owner gave either express or implied permission to use their vehicle. This law can provide seriously injured accident victims with another possible source of liability after a crash.

When permissive use doesn’t apply

Not all uses of a vehicle will result in liability for its owner. For instance, the owner is not likely to face liability if the vehicle is stolen off the street, or even if someone the owner invited into their home found their car keys and took the car without their permission. Similarly, if the borrower used the loaner car for purposes that were outside of the uses to which the owner consented, the owner may not be held responsible for those uses. Let’s say, for example, the borrower got the owner’s permission to use their car to get to class. The owner might argue that the borrower did not have the owner’s permission to drive to a party after class and have a few drinks, after which they got into a crash and injured someone else. That said, seasoned personal injury attorneys may be able to prove that a victim is still entitled to damages from the owner if consent for additional uses was implied. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to learn your options.

For seasoned, effective, and dedicated legal help getting money damages after a crash in New York, contact the personal injury lawyers at the Poughkeepsie offices of the Law Office of Taran M. Provost, PLLC for a free consultation at 845-675-3243, with additional offices in Mahopac.

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