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How liable am I for somebody else's crash?
August 29, 2014 12:17 PM   Subscribe

This is hypothetical. I have allowed somebody to drive my car (in British Columbia, Canada) who I know does not have valid driver's license. She has a crash in which somebody else is badly hurt. She (the uninsured driver) does not have the money to pay the damages. How liable am I for these damages, and will my ICBC insurance cover them? If my insurance doesn't cover these damages and they are extreme, are all my assets endangered? (ie: worst case scenario, could I lose my home?)
posted by philip-random to Law & Government (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
For the first part of your question:

A regsitered vehicle owner can be liable for a crash if they are not driving due to section 86 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act. This section imposes liability where a registerd owner expressly or implicity consents to another using their vehicle or if the vehicle is being used by a household member. More here.
posted by Nevin at 12:41 PM on August 29


and will my ICBC insurance cover them?

They say they'll cover someone with a valid licence in the FAQ. Strangely enough it's not really clear in the FAQ if they don't cover people without licences because they probably don't have people asking such spectacularly silly questions. And yes, you would lose your house. You would end up with a limited amount of your primary residence's equity, appliances and tools of the trade when the people who just sued your ass into the ground sieze and sell all of your assets and property.

God I hope this is a hypothetical. Because this is just a spectacularly terrible idea to let someone that you know doesn't have a licence drive your car. This is beyond reckless and/or negligent. This is knowingly. If they, god forbid, killed someone in an accident and you knew they didn't have a licence you could (and probably will) be pulled up on some regional variation of manslaughter charges.
posted by Talez at 12:50 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I don't think there is any need to browbeat our dear philip-random. Anyway, whether or not you would lose your house is indeed the most hypothetical part of this question. It's not apparent whether or not there are prescribed punitive damages for letting someone without a license drive your car, who then gets into an accident. Presumably you would be taken to court and damages would be awarded.
posted by Nevin at 1:07 PM on August 29


If this is in any way not hypothetical, have the mods anonymize this and remove references to the corporation and province. I am aware of someone who had their search history and etc brought into the settlement conference process for said insurer.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 1:08 PM on August 29


Trust that it is hypothetical though it is based on reckless behavior that I've observed. In fact, I'm looking for something that I can use in fiction, where somebody makes a single error in judgment (while under a lot of stress) and it ends up having extreme consequences. Thanks very much for your answers so far.
posted by philip-random at 1:11 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Knowingly allowing an unlicensed driver to operate your car on public streets will probably A) Invalidate any insurance coverage you have (as in, we don't cover you letting an unlicensed driver use your car), and B) Probably open you up to legal action by both the injured party as well as law enforcement.

Both you and the one you loaned the car to will likely share fault and responsibility.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:55 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Maximum personal injury settlement in BC is $350,000. If you have a lot of equity in a million dollar Vancouver house then no, you won't lose it.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:00 PM on August 29


One thing you might do is take a look at your own insurance policy. I bet they all say much the same thing, and I guess, but do not know, that knowingly allowing an unlicensed driver to operate your vehicle will mean there is no insurance coverage.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:37 PM on August 29


Maximum personal injury settlement in BC is $350,000. If you have a lot of equity in a million dollar Vancouver house then no, you won't lose it.

The $350,000 limit is for non-pecuniary damages. You can go well over $350,000 by including cost of care, loss of earnings and what not in a tort action. $150,000 is the maximum for personal injury claims against the ICBC.

Trust that it is hypothetical though it is based on reckless behavior that I've observed. In fact, I'm looking for something that I can use in fiction, where somebody makes a single error in judgment (while under a lot of stress) and it ends up having extreme consequences. Thanks very much for your answers so far.

I'm so thankful this wasn't a "well I have this friend" type of hypothetical.
posted by Talez at 2:44 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


crazycanuck: "Maximum personal injury settlement in BC is $350,000. If you have a lot of equity in a million dollar Vancouver house then no, you won't lose it."

That is $350K per injured person; your hypothetical lincenceless driver knocking a tour bus off the road or plowing through a bike peloton is going to be on the hook for wildly more than a straight $350K. A million won't begin to cover it.
posted by Mitheral at 11:33 PM on August 29


thanks all. My suspicions are very much confirmed. I can now fictionalize with impunity.
posted by philip-random at 10:19 AM on August 31


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