If you are thinking of allowing someone else to drive your car, it's a good idea to check their driver’s licence status and your insurance policies first.
If a friend crashes your vehicle, your insurance policy may respond, depending on its terms. However, in some circumstances you may be left having to foot the damage bill yourself, or sue your friend for the money.
Whether your third party, comprehensive or compulsory third party (CTP) insurance policy will cover damage or liability caused by your friend’s driving will depend on a number of factors:
If your policy does not respond, you will be liable for the costs of the damage to your car, damage to any other vehicles and public property. You could also be sued for personal injury if someone is injured in the accident.
If your friend crashes your vehicle and is injured, they may be able to make a claim for injury compensation depending on whether or not they were fault.
A claim for compensation can only be made against someone if they have breached their duty of care toward you. If your friend is at fault, they are the negligent party and are therefore unable to make a claim for injury compensation against someone else.
If your friend is not at fault for the accident, they can make a claim against the driver who is at fault. The at-fault driver will be covered by their compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. If the at-fault driver’s vehicle is not registered and therefore not insured with CTP or if the at-fault driver cannot be identified, your friend can still make a claim against the Nominal Defendant.
You will not be liable for any injuries sustained by your friend unless you have been negligent. For example, if you didn’t properly maintain your vehicle or it was unroadworthy and this caused the accident your injured friend may have grounds to sue you. It is unlikely your liability would be covered by your CTP insurance in this situation.
If your friend is at-fault in an accident and has damaged your car, they are liable for the damage. If you don’t have insurance to cover the damage, or don’t wish to make a claim on your insurance, you can ask them to pay for the damage.
If they refuse to pay, you can sue them for the amount that it costs to fix your car. However, there are other steps you should take first.
If your friend still refuses to pay, you can lodge a claim with QCAT for claims under $25,000 or in an appropriate Queensland civil court for a claim over $25,000.
If your friend crashes your car and you can’t or don’t want to claim on your insurance, you may be able to sue them for the cost of fixing the damage to your vehicle or for its pre-accident value if it's a write-off.
If you are considering suing someone, it is best to seek legal advice beforehand. If you make a claim and you are unsuccessful, you may have to pay the other party’s legal costs.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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