What if I'm in a Crash While on a Test Drive in New Jersey?

What if I'm in a Crash While on a Test Drive in New Jersey?

Posted By Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law

14 Feb. 2019

There are plenty of new and used car dealerships in New Jersey. For the most part, when someone is shopping for an automobile, they’ll usually test-drive one, if not several vehicles before deciding on which vehicle to buy or lease.

Before people take a car out for a test drive, the dealership usually makes a copy of the person’s driver license and auto insurance, but this doesn’t happen 100 percent of the time. Sometimes, the dealer only makes a copy of the person’s driver license, but they don’t make a copy of their auto insurance card. Other times, the salesman doesn’t do either.

Legal Liability in a Crash in a Dealer Car

Let’s assume you went to a car dealership and the salesman did not get a copy of your license and insurance. While on the test drive, you accidentally caused a crash and as a result, you damaged the dealer’s car and the other driver’s car, plus the other driver was hurt. In this case, who is at fault? Are you, or the dealership legally liable for the car accident you caused?

Since New Jersey is a no-fault state, the other driver would file a claim with their own auto insurance company for their medical bills, even though you were at-fault. The other driver’s medical bills would be paid by their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. However, property damage and pain and suffering are another story.

Assuming you’re insured, your liability insurance would pay for other damages from the accident you caused. Your Bodily Injury Liability coverage would pay for the other driver’s pain and suffering. Then, your Property Damage Liability coverage would pay for the property damage to the other driver’s car, as well as the damage to the dealership’s vehicle.

“What if I don’t have auto insurance?” In this case, the other driver and the dealership could file a lawsuit against you for damages not covered by their insurance, so that is something to be aware of next time you take a dealer’s car out for a test drive. To learn more about New Jersey’s auto insurance laws, click here.

To file a car accident claim in New Jersey, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law today.

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