Austin is the heart of the Lone Star State. It is the hub of state government, Texas’s flagship university, an entertainment epicenter, and quickly becoming a mini-Silicon Valley. With all of this prosperity and activity though, comes vehicles. Thousands of vehicles crisscross our highways and roadways each day, which means that car accidents are just a fact of life. But, what happens if a driver is in an accident with a borrowed vehicle?

For background, our state is a “fault” car insurance state. This means that car accident victims can file an insurance claim, and when needed, a lawsuit, against the driver that caused the car accident (i.e., the at-fault driver). In other words, any driver that causes any damages or injuries is held liable for those damages and injuries in Texas.

Accordingly, state law requires all drivers to have the ability to pay for these potential accidents, which is usually done through auto liability insurance. This insurance pays for those damages and injuries caused by the insured driver. The state has minimum requirements, but for financed vehicles, lenders normally require additional collision and comprehensive coverage.

However, what happens when a driver causes an accident in a borrowed vehicle, like where someone is driving a friend’s vehicle. In these cases, the one who caused the accident is not the person who insures the vehicle. Simply put, in Texas, by default, insurance follows the car, not necessarily, the driver. This means that for borrowed vehicles, the car owner’s insurance pays for any damages and injuries caused by the driver, even when that driver is not the insured.

What if the vehicle owner is uninsured or underinsured? If the vehicle owner is uninsured or does not have sufficient insurance to pay for the damages and injuries caused by the driver, then, the insurance of the driver will cover. For underinsured situations, this could mean that two insurance companies will work together to settle or litigate the claims of all parties that incurred damages as a result of the at-fault driver.

Auto accidents, especially those with uninsured or underinsured drivers can become complicated quickly. But, this does not mean that car accident victims do not have options. Getting professional help quickly can make all the difference as most claims have a time limit to file an insurance claim, and when needed, a lawsuit.