Being involved in a vehicle accident often leads to a lot of stress and inconvenience. If you were not even in the vehicle when it wrecked, though, you might feel bewildered at what will happen next.
First, Determine Fault
Identifying the driver that caused the accident makes all the difference in the world. Fault determines the party that must pay the accident damages of both parties. In many cases, the accident report will provide the answer. This report, prepared by law enforcement at the scene of the accident, contains not just a lot of important facts about the parties but a section listing which driver did what. If the other driver was at fault, it's up to their insurer to pay the damages connected to the accident. However, if the driver of your vehicle is found to have caused the accident, what happens depends on the circumstances of the accident.
You Gave Permission and an Accident Occurred
In many cases, young drivers don't have their own vehicles yet, and so they use a parent's vehicle. If you gave permission for the child to drive the car, then you are probably liable for the damages. If you are unsure of your child's driving skills, then you should not let them take the car. For instance, if the child takes the vehicle with your permission and they are not licensed to drive, you might also be held responsible for any damages. Punitive damages can result in cases where a serious accident led to injuries because you allowed the child to drive.
A similar situation occurs when an elderly person is being cared for. Taking away an older person's independence can be a sad but necessary task. This should only be done if your elder is having vision, memory, or other problems that make driving dangerous for them and others. If you do have doubts about their ability to drive safely, lending them your vehicle puts you in a precarious position. You could end up liable if they cause an accident. You can also be liable if you allow someone to drive your vehicle when you know they have been drinking or using drugs.
Punitive damages are in addition to other common accident damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and more. The judge and jury can apply punitive damages as they see fit to send a message to others who might be careless with allowing others to drive when they are not fit to do so.
Make an appointment at a law firm, such as Ruiz Law Firm, to learn more.