What to Do After a Test-Drive Accident: Who Is Liable?
Posted on August 4, 2021
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Test-driving a vehicle is an important part of purchasing a new car. If you get into a collision while test-driving a car, however, the excitement of the buying experience can quickly turn into a nightmare. For the most part, the car dealership will be liable (financially responsible) for accidents that take place during a test drive. If you are clearly at fault for the accident, however, you may be found liable instead.
Stay Calm and Don’t Admit Fault
In the immediate aftermath of the car accident, stay calm and do not make assumptions about who caused the crash. Even if you feel like you caused the accident, do not apologize or admit fault. Absorbing fault for an accident can automatically place liability with you, even before an investigation. If you do not admit fault, on the other hand, an investigation may find another party or factor to be to blame, such as a vehicle defect.
Check for Injuries
Check to see if anyone has been injured in the test-driving accident, including yourself and the dealership employee in the vehicle with you, if there is one. If anyone is injured, call 911 to request an ambulance immediately. You should also report the car accident to the police if it appears to have caused more than $1,000 in property damage or if it involves illegal activity, such as a hit-and-run or drunk driver.
Notify the Dealership
If you were permitted to test drive the vehicle alone, without an employee riding with you, call the dealership to report the crash as soon as you can. Again, do not admit fault for the collision during your conversation with a representative from the dealership. Do not answer any questions about your injuries, either, until you have seen a doctor. Go to a hospital immediately for professional medical care. Request copies of your medical records for later.
Before you leave the scene of your test-driving accident, take photographs using your smartphone or a camera, if possible. Taking photographs and videos while at the crash scene can provide important evidence during your insurance claim or injury lawsuit later. Take pictures of the entire crash site, including both vehicles and any relevant landmarks. Exchange information with the other driver and write down the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses.
Begin the Insurance Process
A car accident while test-driving a vehicle does not have special rules compared to a typical car crash in Texas. The state’s fault-based insurance law still applies, meaning that the driver or person most at fault for causing the collision will be liable for related injuries and expenses. Determining fault for your test-driving car accident, therefore, may take an investigation into who or what caused the crash.
You are expected to take proper care to avoid a crash while test-driving a vehicle. This responsibility involves familiarizing yourself with how the vehicle works and handles before driving. It also involves taking proper care while on the road, such as obeying all traffic laws and paying attention to other drivers.
If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you may be held liable for the accident, meaning your auto insurance company will pay for property repairs and injuries suffered. If, however, another driver caused your test-driving accident, his or her auto insurance company will cover damages. In addition, car dealerships carry fleet insurance policies on their lots. This insurance will generally cover collisions involving fleet vehicles unless you are clearly at fault.
Consult With a Car Accident Attorney
For the most part, you will take all of the same steps after a test-drive accident as you would after a standard automobile accident in Dallas. Your insurance claim may involve special issues, however, such as the dealership’s insurance company refuting liability. If you need assistance recovering fair financial compensation for the losses you suffered in a test-drive accident, consult with a car accident lawyer in Dallas as soon as possible.