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Who is responsible for damages caused by a borrowed car?

As summer approaches, Toronto residents are bracing for an annual influx of tourists; last year, the city welcomed a record number of visitors. While those of us living in GTA cities like Oakville won’t experience the summer rush as acutely as our downtown neighbours, many of us will be visited by friends and family intent on exploring the region – and that means lending out your car.

If you’re thinking about letting a friend or family member borrow your car this summer, there are a few things your GTA car accident lawyer would like you to consider.


The owner of a car is nearly always responsible for damages caused by that vehicle, including when it is driven by someone else. Even in situations where the borrower has their own insurance policy, the primary policy is likely to be that of the vehicle’s owner.

“When you lend your auto, you also share your auto insurance,” writes the Insurance Bureau of Canada on its website. “Typically, a guest driver is also covered under your policy. Should the guest driver cause a collision while driving your vehicle, your premium may increase.”

That means that collisions or accidents caused by the driver of your borrowed car could result in increased insurance rates or liability payments. A GTA car accident lawyer can help you assess your level of responsibility.

With that in mind, there are a few precautions you should take before you lend anyone your car.

  • Look up the number of an experienced GTA car accident lawyer and have it on file – when an accident occurs, it’s important to consult with a lawyer as quickly as possible.
  • Make sure the borrower has a valid driver’s license. This might seem obvious, but if you lend your car out to an unlicensed driver, you will likely by on the hook for damage or injuries they cause.
  • Ensure the borrower has access to the vehicle’s registration and proof of insurance.
  • Determine where the car is going and agree upon how the car will be used.
  • Make sure you know exactly who will be driving your car – if you lend it to a group, single out a designated driver.
  • Ensure the car is in good working order. Signals, brake lights, and other functions should be running smoothly.

Contact a GTA car accident lawyer

If your vehicle has been involved in an accident or if you have been hurt in a collision, contact a GTA car accident lawyer at Will Davidson LLP to set up a no-obligation consultation. Accidents involving borrowed cars can lead to complicated liability and benefits claims, and our team of experienced lawyers can help you through the legal process.

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