Thinking Of Lending Your Car Out?

Thinking of lending your car out?  Here are some things to consider.

Many vehicle owners in British Columbia may know that lending your vehicle to a friend or colleague, etc. can have consequences if that friend or colleague gets into an accident and injures someone.  If the accident is the fault of the driver of your car, the so called ‘consequences’ can include being held financially responsible for the injuries sustained by the injured party (through the concept of vicarious liability).  Assuming you have insurance, it will be your insurance policy that will cover the compensation that the injured party might be entitled to.  However, if the compensation is greater than your policy limits, you may face personal liability for an accident that you had no part in causing.  The lesson in these circumstances?  You may want to think twice before lending your car out and if you are going to lend it out, be careful who you lend it to.

While most of us have lent our vehicles out at one time or another, without incident, and will probably do so again, there is another set of circumstances that may be less known to the average driver and that is further reason to think twice before lending your vehicle out.  In certain circumstances, you may become liable for accidents caused by third party individuals who may ‘borrow’ your vehicle from the person you lent it to.  In these circumstances, you can be found to have provided implied consent to that third party and thus be held responsible for the accident.

The question that most will ask, therefore, is under what circumstances can I be found to have provided implied consent?  Generally speaking, our Courts in British Columbia have indicated that if it can be proven that you as the owner had an expectation and willingness that your vehicle might be driven by a third party, then you can be taken to have provided implied consent.  For example, if you are a parent and you loaned your car to your child to drive to a party where you knew there would be drinking and if it could be proven that you had some knowledge that another party guest might drive your child home in your car, you could be found to have impliedly consented to that other child driving (even though you did not expressly lend your vehicle to them).  In this situation you could become responsible for an accident caused by that other child.  So, what is the lesson in these circumstances?  If you are going to lend your vehicle out, be sure to make it well known to the person borrowing your vehicle that only they are to drive it and that you do not want anyone else driving it while in their possession.  This will help protect you in the event the vehicle is loaned out and involved in an accident.

The foregoing discussion is a simplification of the law of implied consent in motor vehicle accidents, and intended only to provide some basic information to vehicle owners.  If you have questions about these issues, or are involved in a situation involving your car being loaned out you should consult a lawyer.

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