Most of us have test driven a vehicle before. It is common sense that you would want to test out a vehicle before you purchase one. However, have you ever wondered what happens if you get into a car accident while you are test driving a vehicle?
It is not out of the realm of possibilities. Vehicle accidents are common occurrences, and they can lead to property damage and injuries. During the latest reporting year in West Virginia, we know that there were 268 total crash fatalities and 1,381 total serious injuries. There were also thousands of injuries that were not classified as serious but nonetheless led to major medical expenses for drivers and passengers.
Who is liable in a test driving accident?
Test drive accidents are, thankfully, not all that common. They do occur, and you can be sure that the car company has insurance (if they don’t, they could find themselves in serious trouble). In most cases, a collision involving a dealership car is going to be covered by the company handling inventory at that dealership. Insurance carriers do provide coverage to the companies, but they are not going to let just anyone drive their vehicles.
You will need to show your driver’s license to the dealer before you get in the car for a test driver. They certainly do not want to send an uninsured driver out on the road, and the dealer may even get a photocopy of your license before you can take a test drive. A dealer also has the right to refuse a person a test drive if:
- There is not a valid driver’s license
- A person appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Someone request driving a rare, very expensive, or high-performance car
If you are injured
The most immediate concern in any accident is whether or not there are injuries. A test drive accident needs to be treated like any other collision:
- Call 911 and ensure police and EMS are on the way
- Seek medical treatment for all injuries. Even if you do not feel any pain, understand that the signs and symptoms of many crash injuries do not appear for hours or even days after the crash.
- Document the scene with a camera (or smartphone). Take pictures of damages, injuries, any causes of the crash, traffic and weather conditions, etc.
- Speak to any eyewitnesses. Get their names and contact information.
Could they come after a driver’s personal insurance?
It is a possibility. If you were not at fault in a test drive, you can be sure they will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. If you were at fault, whether partially or completely, the dealer may try to file a claim with your insurance company. This will all depend on whether or not your policy covers you when driving vehicles that are not your own. This may seem a little unfair. In these cases, you may need to secure help from an experienced West Virginia car accident attorney.
If the dealer files a claim with your insurance company because you were at fault in a test drive crash, you should not speak to your carrier until you get legal advice. Anything you say to the carrier can be used against you to lower a settlement amount or even deny your claim.