Should I confess that her dad has no permission to drive my car or should I let insurance cover the damage? 14 Answers as of February 21, 2013

My girlfriend has been using my car to travel to and from work and I was using hers because hers is easier on gas. Anyways, she let her stepdad borrow it one day without my permission. He had an accident which was his fault and the other lady was hurt, although it was a minor injury. My car is also insured. Should I make a statement to my insurance that he did not have permission or should I let them cover it?

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Well, there is the proper answer, or there is the practical answer. If you tell the truth, your relationship with the girl is over. However, since she allowed her step dad to use YOUR car without YOUR permission, I am not sure that this is the girl for you. So, make your choice. In either event, start looking for another girl.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/21/2013
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
This is really much more a question of personal ethics and human relationships than it is of law. To what extent are you willing to enmash the stepfather in legal difficulties, and maybe carrying the cost of expensive injuries or auto repairs. If you were to say that he had no permission to use the car, how badly would it affect your relationship with your Significant Other. Do you hope to have a long-term peaceful relationship with her stepfather. The answers to these questions should tell you what to do.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 2/15/2013
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
I believe, unless the stepdad is not a specifically excluded driver on the insurance policy, the fact your girlfriend, who you gave permission to drive your car, gave him permission to drive it will extend to him having permission to drive.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
I believe that when you turn over your car to the use of your girl friend and use hers instead you are impliedly permitting her to have the authority to permit others to drive.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/14/2013
Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
You should always tell the truth since failure to do so in this case would potentially be insurance fraud and a felony. With that said, a permittee of a permittee does not have authority to allow another to drive an owner's car such that insurance coverage would be available to him while operating the case. Your friend's stepdad probably needs to look to his own or your friend's insurance for potential coverage.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/14/2013
    Law Office of Christian Menard
    Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
    So I am clear, if he has your permission, your insurance will defend him on the lawsuit that will no doubt be filed, not only against dad as the driver, but as against you, as well, as the owner of the responsible vehicle. You, too, would be owed a defense by your carrier. In addition, your carrier would also have to pay, up to your policy limits, any damages owed to the injured parties. Or, if permission was not given, dad and you would be out of pocket all the costs and attorney fees referenced. I would never advise anyone to lie. I would, however, point out that permission may be given in more than one way. Obviously, there is express permission where you expressly tell the other person they can use your car. This can be done orally or in writing. The is also implied permission, where under all circumstances considered, permission is implied. This is normally granted orally.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Reade & Associates
    Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
    You should always tell your insurance company the truth regarding the situation, including when the truth is in the gray area of you having a permissive user and your permissive user permitting someone else to drive your vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Mike Lewis Attorneys | Mike Lewis
    Under NC law, unless you specifically told your girlfriend in advance not to let anyone else drive your car, her Dad's "permissive use" will be covered under your policy.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You should call your insurance agent and tell the absolute truth. The stepdad may be covered anyway since you let your girlfriend use the car. Your insurance agent may contact the other insurance company to sort it out.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
    You can inform the insurance carrier that your girlfriend's stepfather did not have permission to drive the car. However, most insurance contracts are worded to provide coverage for not only the owner, but also any driver of the car. This has been broadly interpreted by the courts to include any foreseeable driver of the car. If your girlfriend was regularly using your car with your permission it would probably be foreseeable that she would allow her stepfather to use it and your consent would be implied.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Unless you had an agreement that only she was to use the car he had implied permission in my opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    It's arguable that he did have your permission, indirectly. As they say, possession is 9/10ths of the law. Once you gave permission and possession to your girlfriend, that gave her the right to let someone else drive the car unless you specifically told her you didn't want her stepdad to drive it.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    From what you have told me, I would say he had permission. He certainly didn't steal the car. Furthermore, if the car was used without permission, he is not the one who stole the car (or took it for a joy ride), it is your girlfriend who took the car, because he had no way of knowing that she had no authority to lend him the car. Based on the arrangement as you describe it, your girlfriend had implied authority to lend your car to a relative, as you had implied authority to lend her car. To demonstrate what I am saying, if you let someone borrow her car, do you really think you committed a crime? Did she commit a crime by lending your car? I would never advise anyone to lie, but if you and your girlfriend had an unspoken understanding that you could let others use your cars (within reason), then he had permission. As to whether it is better for you to have it covered or not, I cannot say. If the claim exceeds your insurance, I do not think you would be liable for the excess. Your insurance may go up.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 2/13/2013
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