Accidents can happen during vehicle test drives, in which cases the people involved may be unsure about who’s liable or which steps to take after an accident. Following an accident, certain parties may be liable depending on the circumstances, and victims can take the necessary action to recover compensation from those parties.
Who Is Responsible for a Test Drive Vehicle Accident?
While some drivers involved in test drive accidents may claim that the dealership or salesperson is liable for an accident because the vehicle is their property, the driver could still be liable if their negligence caused the accident.
Normally during a test drive, the driver is temporarily responsible for the vehicle. On the other hand, test drives in some states may operate under a majority rule that places responsibility on the salesperson. For example, in a few cases that took place in Virginia, Washington, and Ohio, courts determined that the dealer or owner of the vehicle had the right to direct the driver throughout the test drive, and could have taken over the operation at any point during the drive. In these cases, accidents may fall under the responsibility of the dealership.
When Dealers Recommend Drivers Purchase a Vehicle After a Test Drive Accident
If a vehicle sustains extensive damage in a test drive accident, the dealer may suggest that the prospective buyer purchase the vehicle, but they are not legally required to do so. If drivers choose to buy the vehicle, it will become their responsibility to cover the repairs as the new owners.
Ultimately, when shopping for a new vehicle and a minor accident during a test drive causes minor damages, the driver may benefit from purchasing the vehicle as opposed to covering the repairs alone. If the damage is more extensive, it’s best to avoid buying the vehicle. Regardless, the dealership may make it seem as if the driver is obligated to buy the vehicle following an accident, but this is untrue.
Types of Insurance Involved in Test Drive Accidents
Before filing a car accident claim following a test drive crash, individuals may wonder whose insurance is responsible for covering the accident. In some cases, the test driver’s auto insurance would cover the damages if the driver’s negligence caused the accident. If a dealership has fleet coverage that covers test drivers, the dealership’s insurance may cover the accident. If an accident involves another driver and their negligence caused it, their insurance may need to cover the damages.
Working with a car accident attorney may help further determine liability and navigate the claims process in the event of a test drive accident.