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Liablility question

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by mac3897, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. mac3897

    mac3897 Member
    from MA
    Messages: 68

    Just curious how the law works. I know it may be different by state by here is my question.

    If my truck has the plow on it and lets say my father in law borrowed it to plow a driveway and something happend, who would be liable???? Would that be my problem because its my truck or his because he was driving/plowing.

    I guess it would the equivalent to borrowing someones car and getting in an accident. Who's insurance would cover it?

  2. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173


    You dont say what the something is that happens so cant answer your question for certain. Insurance goes with the vehicle. If your dad borrows the truck and gets in an accident, causes damage etc it goes to your insurance policy to be paid, because of implied consent to letting him use the vehicle.

    Now if he goes and plows someones driveway and causes property damage with the plow it may become more difficult to determine whos at fault, but you can be sure the insurance companies will come after you for part of the claim. If you said sure Dad you can borrow the truck to go to the store and he decides to plow someones driveway along the way, and has never operated the plow previously, MAYBE you can get them to go after your Dads policy first, but more likely they will still come after you.

    Last issue is completed operations liability. If someone slips and falls on that driveway he cleared and this wasnt your client in any way shape or form, then your Dad may be on his own there. However you can be sure, that youll still be listed in the lawsuit along with John Does 1-15 to make sure someone pays.

    Bottom line is, if Dads borrowing the truck you better know what hes planning to do with it.

  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    At least in Wisconsin, Iowa and Maine - you as registered owner of the vehicle. I know about these from having lived in them and having experienced or checked on the very situation you are illustrating.

    You could of course go after your father-in-law.
  4. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    In MA, vehicle insurance goes with the individual, not the vehicle. If you borrow my car and get in an accident, your auto insurance will cover what you did. Just the same as the accident goes on your license. If the driver does not have their own auto insurance then the vehicle owners insurance will cover. Remember that in MA if the person that borrows the vehicle lives in the same house as you and is not listed on your insurance as an authorized driver of the vehicle then they will not be covered. This stops one person from registering and insuring a vehicle to them because their spouse or child has a bad driving record.

    Now, I'm not sure about what happens if your insurance will not cover damage done while in the act of plowing, some insurance companies will only cover this with a commercial policy, or a special plow rider on your policy. And if you have general liability insurance it may be a different ball game as well.

    But if the "mishap" is just a standard motor vehicle accident and it is just coincidence that the plow is on the truck at the time, then standard auto insurance should cover it.
  5. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    mac3897 where in MA are you located?
  6. mac3897

    mac3897 Member
    from MA
    Messages: 68

    Used to live in Hopkinton but have sinced moved to Northbridge.
  7. golfmanres

    golfmanres Senior Member
    Messages: 150

    well in the state of virginia, the insurance follows the car not the person. so if you allow the person to drive the truck and he wrecks it into some thing you are liable the policy holder. now if you tell the insurance company you didnt give permission to drive the car the driver will be liable and have a good chance that he will not have insurance coverage by the end of the day. its kinda of weird, with plowing, i just went through this with my insurance agent, because i just changed my policy to business, he asked who else would be driving it, i told him just my brother to so his name is also on the policy and we/he would get into trouble. as long as the drivers name is on the policy you shouldnt have a problem. but make sure it is or else something happeneds its your b-hind that is in trouble. but regardless insurance follows the car and not the person. hope this makes sence....

    just my .02
  8. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Yes, business (commercial vehicle and General Liability) are different than regular auto insurance. A family member, living in my house, can drive my commercial vehicle as far as commercial vehicle insurance. However, I need a waiver of Workman's Comp liability for a family member to move snow with that same vehicle. In other words, my wife can drive my truck but my kids cannot. I still need a waiver of WC liability for my wife to do any work, whether pushing snow or "office work". The kids may not put in the claim, but if the driver of the other vehicle could show that the kids were driving or plowing when the "thing" happened - I could lose everything.

    It happened around here last year.
  9. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Commercial insurance actually save me money on my plow truck. My wife had her first two accidents EVER at 32. Never put a scratch in car until last year. (I can't say that!) Did 3k worth of damage in the spring of 2001 and then ROLLED our jeep on the highway doing 10k worth of damage (She was fine, 35 mph, jeep has a full cage). Our insurance went up quite a bit. She is the titled owner of all of our vehicles and I have always been a designated driver (Because of my brewery business, I don't own anything for liability reasons)

    I was able to insure the vehicle commerically and not have to designate any drivers. Worked out in our favor.