Going on a test drive with a new car is an exciting part of the purchase. You get to see how the new cargoes, how driving it feels, and if you like it. However, car accidents are unpredictable and can happen on any occasion even when you test drive. Who will be at fault for such an accident and whose insurance will cover this damage?
If you were involved in such an accident, it’s best to hire a New York car accident attorney to advise you and help you in the process.
Who Is Responsible for the Accident?
Just like in any crash, the careless or negligent driver who caused the accident will be at fault for the damages and potential injuries. If you caused the accident while test driving, you will be liable.
There aren’t special rules for test drivers when it comes to liabilities in such accidents. Driving an unfamiliar vehicle won’t change the fact that you caused a crash.
You should familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s sightlines and features before you start driving. When you drive, you should be cautious as you are getting used to the new vehicle (steering, braking, stopping).
If you end up in a crash in a test drive, make sure you do the same steps you would do during an accident with your vehicle. First of all, get the names of the involved parties. Call an ambulance if there are injured people and then call the police. Take information from the other drivers, photos of the scene and the vehicles, and talk to witnesses if there are any.
If you believe that the crash was caused because of a vehicle defect or other manufacturing problem, make sure to take photos of the car (before and after). Make sure you talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Whose Insurance Will Cover the Accident?
The answer depends on the details of the accident and the available car insurance coverage.
Car dealerships must carry fleet insurance on all vehicles in their lot. The test driver is usually considered to have car insurance under the fleet policy.
Fleet insurance typically covers all damages that occurred in the accident during the test drive (no matter who is at fault).
If the test drive crash is minor, the dealership will just absorb the costs for the crash through fleet insurance. If the test driver is at fault for the accident that left people with severe injuries and damages, the dealership will seek a third-party claim under the test driver’s liability car insurance coverage. The dealership can seek compensation for any losses paid out under the fleet policy.
Your Car Insurance
If you caused the crash while test driving the car and the dealership or anyone injured in the crash files a claim against you, then your car insurance coverage will have to cover the compensation. Your car insurance transfers for the test-driving vehicle (just like it would transfer if you drive a borrowed vehicle.
The Other Driver’s Car Insurance
In case the other driver caused the accident, the dealership won’t be able to hold you responsible for any damage to the vehicle. All claims will be addressed to the other driver’s insurance; their insurance will cover the damages and injuries, up to the coverage limits. If the liable driver doesn’t have any insurance, the dealership will have to resort to using its fleet insurance to collect damages that happened from the accident during the test drive.
If you’re injured, you won’t have a high chance to collect the claim if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. You can seek the damages from your insurance if you have UIM coverage.
Some dealerships will ask test drivers to sign a liability waiver in case of a car accident. These waivers are an attempt to transfer liability for damages to the test driver. If you don’t fully understand the waiver, don’t rush to sign it. Most dealerships don’t insist on liability waivers, since these waivers prevent people from taking test drives and then buying the vehicle.
How a Lawyer Can Help
It’s always good to have a skilled and experienced attorney to advise you on the next steps in such cases.
Cellino Law is here to advise you in case you are asked to sign a liability waiver or if you’re involved in a test driving accident (no matter how it occurred).
Get your free consultation today.