The Liability in Joyrides

If a joyride ends up in a crash, and ends up causing injuries and damages to property, then who is liable?
This is a question that parents wish they never have to ask, but the possibility is always present. For instance, a 6-year old and her 8-year old brother took their parents’ car for a quick joyride. The result is inevitable – the car crashed less than one block from their house, and the younger daughter was killed in the incident.
If you own a car and it was taken without your consent, how will things go from there? Will you be held liable? Here are some factors considered:

Your insurance policy

To know if you are liable for a joyride accident, it is best to check first your insurance policy. Take a look if your child, or the person who took the car without your consent, is covered by your insurance plan.
There are insurance policies that cover every member of your household, while there are also some who only cover those who have driver’s licenses. Otherwise, an uncovered member of the family could mean out of pocket expenses for you.
Upon applying for coverage, it is likely that you will be asked to list down your household members, their ages, and other pertinent information, even if they are not licensed to drive. Take note that failing to list everyone (especially someone who ends up taking your car without your consent) can be deemed insurance fraud and result in negative circumstances.

Possible outcomes

However, even if your child is covered by the policy, the chances that your insurance plan will cover the accident are very unlikely. Instead, here are potential scenarios you could face:
Theft. There are comprehensive insurance policies that enable the policyholder to make a claim for vehicular theft. However, take note that insurance companies may not consider your child taking your car as theft.
Unauthorized use. Your insurance company will also likely tell you that a joyride is classified as ‘unauthorized use,’ which could increase the possibility of not being covered. Because the joyride occurred when your car was taken without your knowledge, then a claim may possibly not be opened for it.
Out of pocket expenses. With the possibility of not being covered come the chances of you shelling out money to cover for the expenses. If the joyrider is not your child (or is not related to you), then it is possible that you can ask for help to share the expenses. Otherwise, it will likely be your sole responsibility.
Remember, not all insurance policies were created the same. Some may cover a joyride incident, some may not – and some may be open to negotiate. When it comes to these kinds of cases, it is best to arm yourself with a personal injury lawyer who can represent you and your interests. The lawyers of W.T. Johnson are well-versed in handling these kinds of cases, and are compassionate in dealing with your concerns, and knowledgeable to help uphold your rights. To schedule a meeting with us, call us today.