Who’s Responsible for a Car Accident During a Test Drive?

By Osborne & Francis
July 18, 2024

In purchasing a car, it’s important to take it for a test drive before you make your decision to buy. While accidents occurring during a test drive are uncommon, they are often more complicated than normal car accidents.We at Osborne & Francis have answered some of the most common questions regarding test drive accidents, including the difference between dealership and private car sale test drive accidents.If you need representation right away for a car crash during a test drive, contact Osborne & Francis online or call us today at (561) 293-2600 to discuss your case.

Who Is Responsible for Test Drive Car Accidents?

As with any other car accident, the person who causes a crash during a test drive is responsible for any damages and/or injuries that result. The possibilities include:

  • You caused the crash: Unfortunately, there are no special rules designated for accidents that occur during a test drive. You’re expected to familiarize yourself with a new car’s features before you begin driving it, and use proper caution as you develop a level of comfort with steering, braking, accelerations, etc.
  • Another driver caused the accident: If another driver crashes into you during a test drive, they are responsible for the crash. However, legal help may be necessary when negotiating with insurance companies—your lawyer will help make sure there is a fair financial divide between your injuries and the seller’s property damages.
  • The dealer or seller is at fault: If the owner of the car or sales representative interferes with you during the test drive (by grabbing the steering wheel, for example), the resulting crash may be deemed fully or partially their fault. Having an attorney on your side can help protect you if the seller disputes your version of the accident.
  • The car was at fault: If the car you test-drove was ill-maintained or malfunctioning, those issues may have caused or contributed to the accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can investigate to determine whether the seller and/or manufacturer is the appropriate party to seek damages from.

If you committed a traffic violation, were negligent, reckless, or distracted while test driving a vehicle, then you may be found to be liable for the accident. It’s important to contact an attorney before you admit fault or sign away any of your rights, especially if you have injuries from the accident that need financial support to treat.An experienced car accident lawyer will help make sure you don’t accept responsibility for elements you could not control (like a malfunctioning vehicle), and that your injuries are not overlooked by your insurance company. Accidents happen, and providing you with financial support after an accident is what your insurance company is for.If you believe the accident was not your fault, a car accident attorney from Osborne & Francis can handle the negotiations and paperwork on your behalf, allowing you to move on from the accident as quickly as possible.

Watch our video to learn what to do after a car accident.

Continue reading to learn how an attorney can help you with your car accident case.

Whose Insurance Covers Car Accidents During Test Drives?

Whose insurance will cover the accident will depend on who is found to be at fault. It is especially important to have a car accident lawyer advocating for you during this process if you are not at fault. In cases where you are only partially at fault for an accident, having your own lawyer is even more vital—your attorney will help make sure you are not taken advantage of by the other insurance companies.There are typically at least three insurance companies involved when there is an accident during a test drive: yours, the other driver’s, and the dealership’s.

  • Your insurance: If you were at fault, your insurance company must fund the damages in accordance with your coverage. If your coverage is not enough, and other parties decide to sue, you will need a lawyer to defend your rights.
  • The other driver’s insurance: If another driver is at fault, their insurance must cover all of the damages. If your injuries require more than the insurance cap allows, you should speak with an attorney about a lawsuit to cover your needs. Also, there may be one or more other drivers involved, each with their own insurance.
  • Dealership insurance: Car dealerships are required to have business or fleet insurance for their stock. In some instances, even if you made a mistake while driving that caused damage to the car, their insurance may still cover you without incident. Accidents involving large damages or injuries likely require legal support from a qualified attorney.

You may be uninsured to drive while purchasing a car for the first time or after a long gap between car ownership. If a crash occurs while not covered by personal insurance, call Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 right away to discuss your circumstances and protect yourself.

Private Seller Test Drive Accidents

Private vehicle sales between individuals must be approached with care by both parties. To protect yourself as a buyer in case there’s an accident, here are some insurance test drive private sale tips:

  • Call the seller’s car insurance provider to make sure you’re covered when driving the vehicle
  • Have the seller sign a statement before the test drive granting you permission to drive their car and stating that the car is insured
  • Call your own insurance company to see if you are covered as a driver when operating someone else’s vehicle

Accidents during test drives are rare because most drivers are extra careful when operating a new vehicle they don’t yet own. When accidents occur despite those precautions, insurance coverage is important. When insurance is absent, unfair, or inadequate, that is when you may need a car accident lawyer.

A Hispanic man gets into the driver’s seat of a car at the dealership to give the vehicle a test drive.

5 Key Pieces of Test Drive Accident Advice

​​If you are involved in a test drive car accident, make sure that you take the same steps you would after any type of car wreck. Specifically:

  1. Seek or accept medical attention (if needed) right away
  2. Record the names and information of all involved (drivers, passengers, and witnesses)
  3. Take pictures of the cars involved and the scene of the accident
  4. Report the accident to your insurance company and the police
  5. Call an experienced car accident attorney to ensure that your rights are protected

While test drive accidents can get complicated in assigning responsibility, the basic procedures of any other car accident still apply.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a Test Drive Car Accident?

Contacting a car accident attorney immediately after a car accident during a test drive can alleviate your worries about the process, and protect your rights if you believe you were at fault. More importantly, if you need ongoing support due to any injuries sustained during an accident, your lawyer can help you negotiate a fair insurance settlement. If those negotiations don’t work, your attorney can file a lawsuit for damages.A successful damages award or settlement could include:

  • Medical bills for emergency and/or ongoing treatment
  • Lost wages, used sick or vacation time, or missed employment opportunities
  • Pain and suffering either physical or psychological
  • Property costs for any vehicles involved
  • Punitive damages charged to negligent actors, funds which may then be awarded to you

If you have any questions or require representation from proven attorneys, please contact Osborne & Francis to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at your earliest convenience.

Call Osborne & Francis today at (561) 293-2600 — we’re here to help you over this bump in the road.

Testimonials for Osborne & Francis

Hear from previous Osborne & Francis clients about their car accident cases:

I would highly recommend Osborne & Francis. My son and I were involved in a very serious car accident and I called for advice. I was very impressed when Joe Osborne actually took the time to come to our home on a Saturday morning to obtain the information needed to proceed with our case. Ever since that day I have been very pleased with how the lawyers and staff worked so many hours to get our case settled. We want to thank you all for your dedication, concern, and efficiency.-Linda M.
Thank you Osborne & Francis for helping me after my car accident. I still cannot believe how quickly you all were able to win the case for me. They helped me along the way and supported me through the entire process. Thank you again.-Michael N.
Best personal injury attorney around, I could not be happier! I was seriously injured in a car accident and Osborne & Francis helped me through the entire process. I was blown away by how knowledgeable the staff and attorneys are at this incredible law firm. I would not hesitate to recommend this law firm to friends and family!-Erica F.

Contact Osborne & Francis, Car Accident Attorneys

A test drive is frequently a happy task, especially for new teen drivers and those who are upgrading their rides. Most of the time, a test drive tells you very quickly whether a car is right for you, but in some rare circumstances, a crash ruins the test drive.For minor test drive car accidents, dealership insurance may cover the damage and consider it part of the cost of doing business. In more complicated crashes, insurance companies start making deals, and serious consequences may result. Make sure you have an authoritative advocate on your side.The offices of Osborne & Francis are located in the state of Florida, which frequently ranks high in reported traffic incidents on a nationwide scale. Our experience in resolving car accident cases as quickly and satisfactorily as possible has earned us high praise from our former clients. Call us today at (561) 293-2600, or fill out our online contact form—we’re here to help you over this bump in the road.

Erica F.

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"Best personal injury attorney around, I could not be happier! I was seriously injured in a car accident and Osborne and Francis helped me through the entire process. I was blown away by how knowledgeable the staff and attorneys are at this incredible law firm. I would not hesitate to recommend this law firm to friends and family!"

T. Andrews

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“Attorneys Greg Francis and Ryan Fletcher at Osborne & Francis Law Firm represented me in my personal injury case.The defendant drew a line in the sand and was adamant on a settlement amount I was almost willing to accept. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, we settled for 3 times that amount!!! When they say ‘Real Tough Lawyers,’ they mean it.”


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Quick and fair resolution to a unique case. On advice of my own attorney, I engaged Joseph Osborne of Osborne & Francis of Boca Raton, FL. Mr. Osborne had considerable experience in cases such as mine and the results showed that. Mr. Osborne and his staff were very helpful, kept me up to date, and listened to my input. The settlement was very fair as far as I am concerned.

C. Smith

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“I am so thankful for EVERYONE, the entire staff at Osborne & Francis Law, for mentoring me through the mediation process with my hip replacement failures. I didn't realize how MUCH pressure they relieved me of by helping me deal with the reality of this traumatic time in my life, as it was OVER so quickly with a positive result. My family is grateful to have their mom HAPPY & FOCUSED on the future, rather than worrying over what happened in the past! FAST FORWARD, we are LIVING LIFE to the fullest once again!”

E. Holland

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Dennis and the other Osborne & Francis staff were amazing! Our case was HUGE and required tender loving care. Everyone on our case did their part by putting all the puzzle pieces together. We were given step by step updates and put at ease when our nerves got the best of us. For every inquiry we made we received a timely response...You are appreciated!

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“I couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer/ firm — everything was done professionally exactly how I wanted. Due to COVID my personal attorney Mr. Garcia was still able to make things work in a timely manner and he never made me feel like he wasn’t working. Overall I’m happy with how my case turned out and I would recommend him and this law firm to anyone. 100% satisfied.”

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