Is Owner of Car Responsible When Driver Causes Accident?


Our car accident lawyers have been involved in many cases where the crash was caused by someone driving another person’s car.  We are often asked: Is the car owner still responsible if someone else driving their car causes an accident?  The answer is usually yes if the accident occurred in Minnesota. If you let someone borrow your car and they get in an accident, you (and your insurance) are responsible.

Vehicle Owner Responsible For Accident
Vehicle Owner Responsible For Accident

Minnesota has a safety responsibility law that requires every car owner to insure their vehicle. The law says the vehicle owner’s insurance is responsible for any damage or injury caused by their car. If the owner lets someone driver their car, the owner is responsible. In fact, it is the insurance for the vehicle that is primarily responsible, even before the car insurance of the driver.  The driver’s insurance is considered “excess” and only comes into play if the injuries and damage exceed the coverage of the car that caused the crash. Therefore, if someone borrows your car, you and your insurance are responsible for any accident they cause.

The only exception to this law is if the car is stolen or taken without the owner’s permission.  However, “permission” is interpreted very broadly in Minnesota. For example, claiming the driver did not have permission to take the car is often unsuccessful if the owner had regularly let the driver use the car in the past. Our lawyers have had many cases that hinged on whether the driver had permission to drive the car.


If you have been injured in a car crash in Minnesota, please call us and speak with an attorney for a free consultation. Our lawyers‘ have over 25 years’ experience successfully representing hundreds of people in car accidents.  We understand the insurance issues.  We will answer your questions and protect your rights. The primary purpose of our lawyers is to  make sure you receive fair and complete compensation for your car accident injuries.