Test-driving a car is easily the most fun part about car shopping and buying. But what happens if you get into an accident while driving the dealer’s car?
While most people know to use extra caution when driving an unfamiliar vehicle, accidents can and do still happen on test-drives. On April 10th, two motorcyclists were injured on Gold Star Boulevard by a test-driver in a Toyota RAV4. The test-driver attempted to cross all four lanes of traffic from the Harr Toyota dealership toward Ruthven Road. Riding in the left-most lane, the motorcyclists attempted to avoid a full collision with the Toyota, both suffering non-critical injuries. The first rider clipped the front of the Toyota and crashed the bike into a Honey Dew Donuts. The second rider hit the back of the Toyota, suffering a leg injury.
The legal ramifications of this particular accident are unknown, but the police said that they expect the injured parties will want to press charges. Knowing this, who would be liable for the motorcyclists’ injuries?
Test-Driving: Liability for Damages or Personal Injury
Typically, car dealerships carry a “Garage Policy” which insures their vehicles and covers bodily injury and property damage liability; uninsured motorist coverage; personal injury or medical expense coverage. Dealership insurance policies may vary by state, but generally, dealership insurance will cover any liability claims. The test driver’s personal insurance would be secondary. Depending on the dealership, there may be a deductible required of the test-driver. However, if the test-driver was at fault in the accident, the dealership may seek to have the damages paid by the test-driver or the test driver’s insurance (a process known as subrogation).
If you get into an accident during a test-drive, whether or not you have your own personal auto insurance policy, you will want to speak with a local attorney with experience in automobile accident claims. The law offices of Peter Ventura will help you make sure that the dealership covers what it is responsible for, and that you are not wrongly held at fault.
Holding Dealerships Accountable
Test-driving rarely ends in an accident, but there is always a risk. Talk to your auto insurer for more information on how they handle claims for accidents during test drives. If you do not yet carry personal auto insurance and you get into an accident with a dealer-owned vehicle, for your protection, call for a free consultation with Peter Ventura so that your rights are protected against the interests of the dealership’s insurance company.
Peter Ventura has extensive experience in auto claims and has helped his clients realize significant compensation in personal injury and car accident cases over the years.
The bottom line is if you’ve been in a car accident while test-driving a dealer-owned car, and especially if there were any injuries to you or other motorists, you need to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Peter Ventura toll-free at 508-755-7535 for a free and always confidential consultation.