Case Commentary – Liability When You Lend Your Car

When you lend your car to a friend or family member, who is responsible in the event of an accident? Whose insurance has to respond?

Vicarious liability of vehicle owners in the event of an accident

The Highway Traffic Act includes provisions which make a vehicle’s owner vicariously responsible for any loss or damage to a person that is caused by the driver on a public highway. This vicarious liability means that if you lend your car to a friend, and their negligence leads to an accident, anyone that suffers a personal injury may sue both the driver, and yourself.

Your motor vehicle insurance will respond to any such third party claim made against you as the vehicle owner, unless the person was driving without your consent.

Jaffer v. Pardhan – the highway exception to vicarious liability

This case arose from an accident that occurred when the plaintiff was a passenger in her own car, that was being driven by her daughter. Pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act, she attempted to claim against herself, as the vehicle owner, to recover compensation for her injuries.

In dismissing her claim, the court noted that the language of the provision establishing vicarious liability specifies that the accident in question occur on a highway. In this case, the accident happened on a laneway in a private parking lot. This meant that the Highway Traffic Act did not apply, and she could not initiate a claim against herself in these circumstances.

Experienced personal injury lawyers for motor vehicle and insurance claims

At Derfel Injury Law, we have experience handling complex claims arising from car accidents, including situations where the driver of a vehicle was not the car’s owner. If you have been involved in an accident and have questions about compensation, or claiming accident benefits, we offer thoughtful advice about your legal options.

Contact us online or call 416-847-3580 to make an appointment with one of our team members.