Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

Who is liable if you're hit by a driver on a test drive?

You're just driving across town, running errands, when another driver runs a stop sign and hits the front corner of your car. You get rushed to the hospital and don't see the aftermath of the crash for long, but you later find out that driver wasn't even in his or her own vehicle. The driver was on a test drive, in a car owned by a local dealership. Who's liable?

Typically, the driver is still liable, just like he or she would be in a normal accident. That driver still ran the stop sign and caused the crash. If you're trying to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs, you're going to take that driver to court. Test drive accidents are often viewed the same way the authorities look at rental car accidents.

For insurance purposes, there can be some difference. The dealership may have a large insurance policy specifically for test drives, and this may pay for damages in some cases. However, if you're looking for compensation for your costs from the accident, beyond just damage to your car, you may end up suing the driver.

Of course, there can be other factors that come into play, making the dealership at fault. Did they know the car was unsafe and send it out on a test drive anyway? Had the car been recalled, but did they fail to actually fix it?

These could be important questions to ask. Always be sure you understand who is liable after the accident when you're facing significant costs, as you may have legal options that allow you to get compensation.

Source: FIndLaw, "Car Accident During a Test Drive: Who's Liable?," Christopher Coble, accessed Feb. 16, 2017

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.